Astronomers witness red supergiant star's death for the first time

Astronomers witness red supergiant star's death for the first time

Astronomers have captured the death of a red supergiant star for the first time. The real-time discovery was published Jan. 6 in Astrophysical Journal and led by researchers at Northwestern University and the University of California, Berkeley. According to a press release from Northwestern, the team observed the red supergiant during the last 130 days before it collapsed into a Type II supernova. Previous observations showed that red supergiants were relatively inactive before their deaths, without any evidence of violent eruptions or luminous emissions. These researchers, however, detected bright radiation from a red supergiant in the final year before exploding. “This is a breakthrough in our understanding of what massive stars do moments before they die,” Wynn Jacobson-Galán, the study’s lead author, said in a statement. “Direct detection of pre-supernova …
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