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.