An amateur astronomer has observed the first-ever supernova birth from the comfort of his home. This is a landmark for astronomy.
Victor Buso is a locksmith who is also passionate about astronomy. He recorded the birth of a normal type IIb supernova this week since named SN 2016gkg.
In September 2016 in Argentina, Víctor Buso was testing his new camera. He mounted it to a telescope pointing towards a spiral galaxy called NGC 613, which is about 65 million light-years from Earth. In one photograph, the space below the galaxy looked empty – while in the next, there was a display of bright light. Most supernovas are detected long after this initial explosive stage.
Basically, Mr. Buso witnessed an event that took place 65 million years ago.
He quickly shared his findings with astronomers. They made an extensive monitoring of the photographs within a day.
Shortly after, astronomer Melina Bersten and her colleagues at the Instituto de Astrofísica de La Plata realised the seminal nature of the discovery.
“This opens the possibility of probing the structures of massive stars and thus learning about their evolution and mass-loss processes,” she said.
According to astrophysicist Melina Bersten, the odds of ever encountering an event like this are just one in 10 million.
Supernovae are a monstrous explosion of energy in the very last dying moments of giant star’s lifecycle.
Mr. Buso said: “It’s so exciting to find and register something yet unseen by humans.”
His discovery was published in the scientific journal Nature where it was heralded a “serendipitous discovery”.
Thanks to Mr Buso’s lucky finding, scientists have now been able to determine the star at the heart of the supernova was approximately 20 times the mass of our own.
Thumbnail image: Supernova: Victor Bruso pictured the erupting star within the first hour of its explosion.