Supernova: Astronomers Prepare for Massive Explosion

Supernova: Astronomers Prepare for Massive Explosion

Many amateur astronomers have very advanced equipment with which they can analyze the light. Using spectroscopes on their telescopes, they can measure how fast the stellar material is being blown into space and what elements it contains.

That’s why ordinary people play a crucial role in unlocking the secrets of supernovas.

There’s a catch, though. To make the most of the situation, telescopes need to be trained on the supernova from the moment it starts, preferably before it’s visible in the sky. But scientists have an ingenious solution.

Ghost particles arrive first.

Although we can’t predict where and when a supernova will occur, we can still react before the light reaches Earth. This is because supernovas emit a specific type of elementary particle, neutrinos.

These particles are formed when the interior of a star collapses and travel straight through the outer layers of the star at nearly the speed of light. Neutrinos travel in all directions and some will hit Earth.

The vast majority of them pass by our planet like ghosts, because neutrinos rarely interact with other matter. But some neutrinos are detected by large neutrino detectors, such as the Super-Kamiokande in Japan and the IceCube in the South Pole.

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