Supernovae represent the astrophysically logical outcome of a star burning up all of its fuel. There are situations when a supernova can be as bright and imposing as an entire galaxy. While we know that galaxies, in general, have about 100 million stars, you can imagine for yourself how tremendously powerful a supernova can be.
As ScienceAlert.com reveals, a new type of cosmic explosion that’s ten times more energetic than a supernova was discovered. And no, there’s no use thinking about the Big Bang now. Contrary to popular belief and its moniker, the Big Bang wasn’t actually a “bang”. Instead, theoretically speaking, it was more like the beginning of the expansion of the Universe itself that continues even today.
Behold a magnetorotational hypernova
Astronomers discovered the SMSS J2003-1142 star at the edges of the Milky Way, and it was first observed about five years ago. In September 2019, astronomers took another look at the star with a telescope from the European Southern Observatory in Chile The star provides evidence that heavy elements such as uranium and possibly gold have a different source than expected. The conclusion is that the heavy elements from the star are likely produced due to a magnetorotational hypernova, meaning the collapse and explosion of a star that spins very fast and that possesses a strong magnetic field and also a mass roughly 25 times the one of our Sun.
There’s an iron content in SMSS J2003-1142 about 3,000 times lower than what exists in the Sun. The elements observed were likely produced by a single parent star not long after the Big Bang. Well, as much as “not long” can mean in astronomical terms.
The new research was published in Nature.