The explosion occurred relatively soon after the Big Bang and turned out to be an entirely new phenomenon to us: the spinning hypernova.
The SMSS star J200322.54-114203.3 is kinda weird. The star is about 13 billion years old, which means that it dates back to a time when most stars were composed primarily of hydrogen and helium. But SMSS J200322.54-114203.3 is different. Compared to stars of the same age, the star appears to have more zinc, uranium, europium and possibly gold as well.
With this, the mysterious star indicates the presence of a type of eruption that was not known until recently, the researchers wrote in the journal nature. The explosion marked the end of a rapidly rotating, highly magnetic star. This created heavy elements that were absorbed by the slightly smaller star SMSS J200322.54-114203.3 during its formation.
The explosion that ended the fast-spinning, magnetic star soon after the Big Bang must have been very heavy. Researchers estimate that the explosion released 10 times more energy than the supernova. This means that the blast can be classified as hypernuclear.
Hypernovae per se is not a new phenomenon; Such heavy eruptions were discovered already in the 1990s. But the hypernova that helped send SMSS J200322.54-114203.3 to the heavier elements is different from all known hypernova explosions. It’s the first hypernova caused by the collapse of a fast-rotating, highly magnetic star. It was this combination of properties that inspired the researchers to refer to this new type of hypernova as a spin magnetic hypernova. “We calculated that 13 billion years ago, SMSS J200322.54-114203.3 originated from a chemical soup containing the remains of this type of hypernova,” said researcher David Young. “No one has seen this phenomenon before.”
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And so it was the star SMSS J200322.54-114203.3 that led researchers to trace this type of hypernovae. The star was formed at a time when all stars were mainly composed of the lightest elements. It’s easy to explain. Heavy items were not available. They formed only later, when the first stars exploded. This released the heavy items that the stars had formed in their interiors throughout their lives, as well as the heavy items generated during the explosion. In addition, it produced neutron stars that, when they meet and fuse, can produce heavy elements such as gold. The next generation of stars can absorb those heavy elements again.
In recent years, researchers have gotten a good idea of the rate at which the first stars die and the amount of heavy elements they produced during their dying or later as neutron stars. Next we must conclude that SMSS J200322.54-114203.3 contains more heavy elements than the first stars could produce. Thus, the researchers concluded that there must have been another way for the formation of heavy elements soon after the Big Bang. “There was another type of hypernova that produced all the stable elements in the periodic table at the same time: the explosion of a massive, fast-spinning, highly magnetic star,” said researcher Chiaki Kobayashi. “This is the only way to explain the results.” Researcher Lisa Kewley said it was an important discovery. “It reveals a new way in which heavy elements were formed in the young universe.”
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