February 24, 1987, sudden cosmic explosion shook the astronomical community. This event, called “Supernova 1987A” (SN 1987A) was the most closest to the Earth supernova observed since the invention of the telescope. SN 1987A exploded in the Large Magellanic Cloud, located about 170 000 light years from Earth. It was so bright that observers were able to see her in a few weeks.
The unusual spectacle of a close supernova is not the only gift of SN 1987A. The event also allowed astronomers to explore what causes supernovae, and to study the spread of their blast waves. In fact, even today we can see how the shock wave from SN 1987A still moving, interacting with clouds of dust surrounding the original location of the cosmic explosion.
Analyzing images obtained from Takashi Observatory (ALMA) in Chile, managed to find out what remained after this major event.
The scientists saw a hot “spot” inside the core of a supernova – probably the gas cloud enveloping the neutron star. The star itself was too small to be detected directly — its mass is just 1.4 times the mass of the Sun inside the sphere with a diameter of only 24,142 km.
Maximum length of spot is about 4000 astronomical units (one astronomical unit equals the average distance from the Earth to the Sun – approx. red Techcult), and the temperature is about 5 million degrees Celsius.
It will take time before it is confirmed by the existence in this place of new stars. Dust and gas around a supernova needs to calm down so astronomers could confidently say that this fantastic young star actually exists.