Supernovas are amazingly bright explosions of massive stars at the end of their lives. During the gravitational collapse, the outer layers of the star are pushed away, and chemical elements formed inside the star are released into space. This cosmic dust rains down onto the Earth continuously, including exotic elements formed inside the dying star.
Research published in the journal Physical Review Lettersused the concentration of two such exotic elements preserved in ocean sediments to hypothesize that a supernova exploded near Earth just 2.5 million years ago.
The authors, led by Dr. Gunther Korschinek from the Technical University of Munich, focused their study on ferromanganese crusts collected in the Pacific Ocean.
Tens of millions of years ago, the corpse of a star stole away too much gas from a neighbor and exploded, becoming a beacon in the cosmos — one that took a full year to fade away.
Fortunately for scientists, the massive stellar explosion, called supernova 2018gv, took place 70 million light-years away, and the Hubble Space Telescope was in prime position to watch the lightshow. Astronomers used the instrument to create a timelapse showing the supernova’s year-long fade, from February 2018, shortly after the explosion was first detected, through February 2019.
When the brightness of the star Betelgeuse dropped dramatically a few months ago, some observers suspected an impending supernova — a stellar explosion that could also cause damage on Earth. While Betelgeuse has returned to normal, physicists from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have found evidence of a supernova that exploded near the Earth around 2.5 million years ago.
The life of stars with a mass more than ten times that of our sun ends in a supernova, a colossal stellar explosion. This explosion leads to the formation of iron, manganese and other heavy elements.
In layers of a manganese crust that are around two and a half million years old a research team led by physicists from the Technical University of Munich has now confirmed the existence of both iron-60 and manganese-53.
“The increased concentrations of manganese-53 can be taken as the “smoking gun” — the ultimate proof