• Indian astronomers have tracked a rare supernova explosion and traced it to one of the hottest kind of stars called Wolf-Rayet stars (WR stars).
• The supernova is called SN 2015dj and is hosted in the galaxy NGC 7371.
• Massive stars which are at an advanced stage of stellar evolution and losing mass at a very high rate are known as WR stars.
• They have masses typically greater than 25 times that of the Sun and have brief lifetimes and are therefore quite rare objects.
• Estimates suggest that Milky Way may contain between 1,000 and 2,000 WR stars, majority hidden by dust.
• They have luminosities of up to a million times that of Sun.
• Supernovae are highly energetic explosions in the Universe releasing an enormous amount of energy.
• Supernova is caused by merging of binary star systems (two stars that orbit the same point) or at the end of a single star’s lifetime.
• Long-term monitoring of these open the door to understand the nature of the exploding star as well as the explosion properties.
• It can also help enumerate the number of massive stars.
Mains Paper 3: Science and Tech
Prelims level: Supernova explosion
Mains level: Read the newsfeed