Scientists estimate that the supernova remnant, named W49B, is about 1,000 years old as seen from Earth. It is roughly 26,000 light-years from our planet.
They also believe that, from the supernova remnants’ shape, the star met an unusual end, reports Yahoo! News.
Laura Lopez of MIT, the study’s lead author, explained:
“W49B is the first of its kind to be discovered in the galaxy. It appears its parent star ended its life in a way that most others don’t.”
Images of the rare star explosion’s remnants were released on February 13. Normally, a star shoots stellar material away from itself fairly evenly when it explodes. The result is a relatively symmetrical cosmic object.
But W49B did not do this. Instead, the star’s poles ejected their debris much faster than its equator. The result of the rare star explosion was a supernova remnant strangely asymmetrical. International Science Times notes that W49B also sported no neutron star, suggesting that the rare star explosion produced a black hole.
Co-author Daniel Castro of MIT stated:
“It’s a bit circumstantial, but we have intriguing evidence the W49B supernova also created a black hole. If that is the case, we have a rare opportunity to study a supernova responsible for creating a young black hole.”
Supernovas are rare and not understood completely by scientists because of a lack of recorded instances. The close proximity of the W49B to Earth will let scientists learn more about the properties of a supernova and how a black hole forms.
Check out the video below to see W49B, created by a rare star explosion.
[Image via NASA/CXC/MIT/L.Lopez et al]