Exploding star captured in mesmerising timelapse in new Nasa video

Iana Murray
Friday 02 October 2020 14:00

Nasa has released stunning timelapse footage of a star exploding and fading into oblivion right before your very eyes.

The video features a series of photos taken over the course of almost a year, and shows the staggering explosion as it outshines the brightest stars in its galaxy, and then eventually fades away into nothing.

The Hubble telescope discovered the supernova, which is 70 million light-years away, in 2018. Its brightness is 5 billion times that of the Sun.

The exploding star is considered to be extra special as it was classified as a Type Ia supernova. This means that it was the result of a white dwarf gathering large amounts of material from a neighbouring star. A white dwarf is a small dense star that is reaching the end of its life cycle.

This is also a rare feat as most supernovas occur billions of light-years away, a distance that is often too far for astronomers. This explosion occurred 70 million light-years away which is actually quite close, even though this means that the explosion began when dinosaurs were still alive.

The star comes from the galaxy NGC 2525, which was first discovered in 1791 by William Herschel. The galaxy is roughly half the diameter of the Milky Way.

Astronomers were using the supernova to measure the expansion rate of the universe. The supernova works as a marker to measure distances in the galaxy. Using the brightness of the explosion, astronomers are then able to calculate the distance of its host galaxy.

Who knows when astronomers will be able to witness another supernova so close to our galaxy?