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Draco constellation was illuminated by spectacular death of white dwarf: ultraviolet flash revealed new secrets

Draco constellation was illuminated by spectacular death of white dwarf

The astronomers observe an extremely rare event. A unique ultraviolet flash, the second in the history of space observations, was recorded in the Draco constellation. It was formed as a result of the collision of a white dwarf and an ordinary star. The observations will allow the astronomers to understand how similar dead stars explode, how dark energy accelerates space, how heavy metals such as iron are created in the universe.

An astrophysicist from the Northwestern University, Adam Miller, noted that over the time, the exploded material moves away from the source. Moving away from the source of the explosion, it helps researchers to see the entire center of the event.

To observe the phenomenon, the researchers used a powerful telescope installed in California. For the first time, they managed to detect a special supernova in December last year. The event took place in a nearby galaxy located 140 million light-years from the Earth and called the Draco constellation.

Using technology from NASA's observatory, the astronomers were able to study the phenomenon in ultraviolet and X-ray planes. They immediately classified the event, which they named SN2019yvq, as a Type Ia supernova. It is considered as frequent and refers to explosions of a white dwarf.

According to Miller, that is one of the most common types of explosions in the universe. But the ultraviolet flash is only the second time observed in a collision with a supernova of that type. It lasted only a couple days and showed a tremendous amount of educated energy. As white dwarfs get colder over time, the influx of heat has puzzled the astronomers.

To create such an effect, a volumetric heat source is required, something that is 3-4 times hotter than the Sun. The supernovae are never that hot, and therefore do not have such intense ultraviolet radiation. Finding out the causes of explosions of white dwarfs has always interested the astronomers.

There are several hypotheses that could explain the event. For example, a white dwarf could swallow a companion star, enlarge and become unstable, and then an explosion occurred, creating a powerful ultraviolet flash.