Thirty-three years ago, astronomers detected an incredible star explosion in a nearby galaxy, inside the Large Magellanic Cloud.
Scientists have recently speculated that the spectacular supernova, known as 1987A, is the result of a blue compact supergiant star.
The resulting supernova provoked by the blue supergiant originated in a cosmic phenomenon called a core-collapse supernova.
A core-collapse supernova implies that a massive star’s core is crushed by its gravity and goes on collapsing. A chain reaction is triggered, and the result is a mighty explosion that shreds the outer layers of the star. The result is either a black hole or a neutron star.
The blue compact supergiant is the product of two stars fusing.
Unlike Red supergiants, which are up to 800 times the radius of our sun, blue giants are less than 25 times bigger than our sun.
Many scientists researched the consequences of the cosmic explosion since 1987, mainly to understand better what provoked it and how the start has undergone the changes it suffered.
Masaomi Ono, leader of the RIKEN Astrophysical Big Bang Laboratory team who analyzed the phenomenon, said:
“It has been a mystery why the progenitor star was a blue supergiant.”
The previous analysis revealed that the star had ejected radioactive nickel, which has formed during the collapse process, at about 4,000 km/s.
However, up until recently, nobody was able to say precisely why the nickel has been ejected at such enormous speeds.
During the new research, four asymmetric core-collapse supernovas have been simulated, and the results of the simulations were put side to side with the data collected decades ago to look for a match. The best match they discovered was the result of the union of a main-sequence star and a red supergiant.