In a recently presented study High-energy astrophysical phenomenaa team of researchers from Japan discusses strategies for observing and possibly predicting precursor signatures for local type II and galactic supernovae (SNe) explosions.
This study has the potential to help us better understand how and when supernovae might occur across the Universe, where supernovae is the plural form of supernova (SN).
But how important is it to detect supernovae before they actually happen?
“From my perspective, it’s important in two ways,” said Daichi Tsuna, an astrophysicist at the University of Tokyo’s Early Universe Research Center and lead author of the study.
“First, although we know that supernovae (SNe) are explosions that signal the deaths of massive stars, what happens towards the end of their lives is still a mystery, according to the standard theory of stellar evolution.
“Our paper claims that future observations will allow us to probe this progenitor in depth, which may help deepen our understanding of stellar evolution and refine existing theory.” Second, finding an SN precursor would allow very early warning of a SN in the near future. and will help expand the timeframe available to coordinate multi-messenger observations (light, neutrinos, and gravitational waves).”
For the study, the researchers used the open-source code CHIPS (Complete History of Interaction-Powered Supernovae) to create a theoretical model for such a discharge in a red supergiant mass eruption.
This is intriguing because the star Betelguese, which dimmed in brightness in 2019, sparking discussions that it may go supernova, is also a red supergiant.
As it turns out, Betelguese is nearing the end of its life, but a 2021 study says it’s not scheduled to explode for another 100,000 years. But what impact might this research have on Betelguese?
“Betelgeuse is a red supergiant, exactly the type of star we studied in this work,” Tsuna explained. “So if Betelgeuse were to explode very soon, it could show that kind of precursor emission just before the SN. Since Betelgeuse is very close to us, neutrino detectors can find neutrinos emitted days before the SN. We can do more messenger astronomy before the SN explosion!”
The study’s results state that eruption light curves are powered by a brief shock wave pulse lasting only a few days, followed by a much longer cooling discharge lasting hundreds of days.
In lower energy eruptions, this period is followed by a weak spike period, driven by what is known as the bound envelope, and receding.
The study concludes by stating that such mass eruption events “may serve as an early warning of a nearby SN in the near future, which will be important for multi-messenger studies of core-collapse SNe.”
“One thing I want to emphasize is that we have a bright future for discovering these types of rather weak progenitors,” Tsuna said.
“For example, in a few years, the Rubin Observatory would be making wide-field survey observations with a much higher sensitivity than current surveys. It would be sensitive enough to actually detect these types of emissions and could be a probe for the remarkable final stages of a massive star’s life.”
This article was originally published by Universe Today. Read the original article.