Fortunately, we had telescopes to detect this.
From Earth, the explosion shone brilliant blue, indicating that the supernova reached a temperature of billions of degrees.
“This,” said Dr. Brad Tucker, “is a very, very massive event.”
Dr. Tucker, an astronomer at the Australian National University, was part of a team of 130 international scientists who spent months studying data and images from a star blast captured by telescopes around the world.
Supernovae, among the most powerful explosions in the galaxy, are extremely rare. Astronomers knew that they could be caused when two white dwarfs — ancient super-heavy stars that ran out of fuel and squeezed by gravity to about the size of our planet — crashed into each other.
But they suspected that there was another trigger. One white dwarf can hunt another, younger star, sucking its material. At some point, a white dwarf could get so much mass that he was unable to support himself.
And then it was theorized, it would have exploded.
This white dwarf fate seems to have confirmed this theory, said Dr. Tucker.
Like a nuclear bomb, a supernova produced a huge shock wave that rushed in the space ahead of the explosion itself.
Through their telescopes, astronomers noticed that a shock wave struck a nearby white dwarf star. The shock wave was strong enough to “knock it off its feet,” says Dr. Tucker.
"It won't make another star explode, but it will ruin it."
Scientists will use death record stars to study how supernovae form and ignite. There are many unanswered questions, says Dr. Tucker.
The find is published on Saturday at Astrophysical Journal Letters and Astrophysical journal,
Liam – Fairfax Media Reporter