Scientists discovered titanium in the remnant of the Cassiopeia A supernova, about 11,000 light-years away or 104.060 trillion kilometers. This finding may help explain why some of the larger stars exploded. So says a new study.
Cassiopeia A is a large ball of hot expanding gas. It is the most recent remnant of an exploding star, as far as we know. The explosion occurred about 340 years ago. Light from a supernova first reached Earth around 1670.
Cassiopeia A is often viewed by researchers, as it is somewhat close to astronomical standards. We can learn a lot about the evolution of the universe in this way. When stars explode, their elements end up in space. Using telescopes like NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, scientists can discover which one comes from Cassiopeia A.
Even stars more than 10 times the mass of our sun are known to explode when they run out of fuel, but scientists aren’t sure why. The explosions ensured that certain elements, such as gold and titanium, could be found throughout the universe.
“Scientists believe that most of the titanium we use in our daily life is produced when stars explode,” said Toshiki Sato, lead author of the study and associate professor at Rikkyo University in Tokyo, Japan.
When the stars explode, they turn into a black hole or neutron star. New elements are created in a neutron star. When scientists examined this phenomenon, they found that the energy burned out quickly, causing the shock wave to lock up. This prevents a supernova explosion.
New computer simulations indicate a missing element that allows the supernova to persist: the neutrinos. These ghostly, low-mass particles, created when a neutron star is forming, can release bubbles of elements that eject, propel the shock wave and enable the supernova.
According to the new study, the explosion that caused the Cassiopeia A supernova was likely driven by neutrinos. Data from NASA’s Chandra shows that some of the structures have moved away from the supernova. The structures contain titanium and chromium, along with iron.
We’ve never seen those titanium bubbles in supernova remnants before. “We can only get this result from very clear Chandra images,” said Kichi Maeda, a co-author of the study and a professor at Kyoto University in Japan. “Our findings are an important step in discovering how these stars explode in supernovae.”
The research means that titanium fragments formed deep in the star when the supernova occurred. The amount of titanium produced by this supernova is greater than the total mass of Earth. The results also support the theory that neutrino-driven explosions might explain some stellar explosions.
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