Astronomy Spotting shot stars

Spotting shot stars

In an explosive discovery, Australian scientists have found a group of life-after-death stars in the galaxy nearest to our own.

Dubbed the ‘senior citizens’ of the Large Magellanic Cloud, the 16 celestial objects are the 120,000-year-old leftovers of exploding stars, known as supernova remnants.

Supernovas are the biggest explosions ever witnessed by humans.

Western Sydney University researchers found the remnants in the outlying regions of the galaxy, which is much smaller than our own Milky Way, by using observations from the latest generation of optical telescopes based in Chile.

Lead author and PhD candidate Miranda Yew from the university’s School of Science said the new class of supernova remnants were once young and bright stars.

“Their contemporaries from the central, dense part of the galaxy vanished a long time ago, as they merged into the vast interstellar medium,” Ms Yew said.

“However, these stubborn celestial objects managed to survive — this is because the conditions in the galaxy’s outskirts are far more favourable for a longer life.”

“Our analysis suggests we discovered a previously unknown class of large and predominantly optically visible supernova remnants,” she said.

According to the research team, the findings suggest the Large Magellanic Cloud is going through a period of recent star formation.

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