What an exploding star looks like

The Kepler telescope has watched two supernovae break out of the surface of stars.

By - March 23, 2016 Share on LinkedIn

Scientists have been able to witness the first moments of a supernova for the first time, thanks to the Kepler space telescope, Cnet reported.

A research team led by Professor Peter Garnavich of the University of Notre Dame in Indiana were looking for supernovae in the Kepler data.

They analysed data over a three-year period, during which time Kepler captured images every 30 minutes – covering over 500 galaxies and 50 trillion stars.

They found Kepler had captured two Type II supernovae in 2011, but only one resulted in a shock breakout.

When a star’s core collapses, this explosion only lasts about 20 minutes – so capturing the event is a rarity.

The research is available in full on arXiv.

The animation of what the supernova of KSN 2011d, located 1.2 billion light years away, looked like is below.

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