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Betelgeuse might be the first Electron-Capture Supernova

When the pandemic began at the end of 2019, a red giant star in the famous Orion constellation Betelgeuse suddenly dimmed and astronomers were obligated to look for their telescope. Many people speculate that Betelgeuse will become a supernova, but there is a simpler explanation for decay: condensation, the dust collected in front of the stars as seen from the earth.

The false alarm is behind us, and astronomers are busy studying new research describing the first evidence about the electrons capture supernovae. It was named SN2018zd and was discovered by amateur astronomer Koichi Itagaki in a galaxy 90 million light-years away in 2018, confirming the theory of supernova electron capture 40 years ago.

Supernovae are dying stars. Depending on their mass, they will transform into extremely hot red giant stars, very dense white dwarfs, even denser neutron stars, or eventually disappear as black holes. The life of a star depends on its mass, because it burns hydrogen to generate energy to prevent it from collapsing due to gravity. The larger the star, the faster it will die, because the greater the mass, the more heat, and the higher the temperature, the faster it will consume fuel.

It also points to another electron capture supernova that has been hidden for a thousand years: SN 1054, recorded by the Asian Sky Observer in 1054 AD. Astronomers consider it to be a perfect example of electrons capturing supernovae. It was so bright at that time that before it merged with the Crab Nebula, it could be seen every day for several weeks and at night for several years. Its extraordinary luminosity is probably due to the collision of the supernova ejection with the material released by its parent star, which is one of several characteristics that are completely related to the recently discovered SN2018zd.

About 5 billion years ago, the shock wave of a supernova explosion in an arm of the Milky Way scattered the heavy elements of a dead star into interstellar space. When the gas and dust clouds finally condense, the resulting mist begins to spin faster and faster to maintain power and become a disc.

For millions of years, gravity has pulled most of the mass toward its center, until the ever-increasing heat and density finally turned into thermonuclear light: the sun was born. Dozens of elements formed clumps in the gas and dust around it: becoming protoplanets and their moons, which later became the solar system.

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About the author

Tina Hayden

Tina is a freelance writer based in Maine. She earned her bachelor’s in journalism at Temple University. She has written several high-level documentations for local magazine. She loves to travel and vlog her vacations when she is not writing. [email protected]

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