Rare Star Explosion: See 'W49B' Supernova Create Youngest Black Hole In Milky Way Galaxy [VIDEO] [PHOTO]
The rare star explosion of W49B was announced when the powerful lenses of the NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory discovered the phenomena earlier this week. According to scientists, star W49B is some 26,000 light-years away from Earth.
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When a star reaches the end of its life, a powerful supernova sends stellar material away from its core in all directions, creating a symmetrical cosmic form. However, scientists learned that the explosion of the W49B was distinctly asymmetrical, suggesting that something remarkably different has occurred.
According to scientists, the poles of W49B ejected debris far more rapidly than its equator, forming an hour-glass shape, rather than a spherical one. What's more, supernovas typically tend to leave behind a dense spinning core that is known as a neutron star, which can be detected through X-ray or radio pulses. However, NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory could not detect a neutron star at all -- suggesting that what the star explosion has created in in fact a rare black hole.
"W49B is the first of its kind to be discovered in the galaxy," study lead author Laura Lopez of MIT explained in a statement. "It appears its parent star ended its life in a way that most others don't."
The supernova remnant detected by the observatory is about 1,000 years old as seen from the earth. At just one millenia, not including light travel time, W49B could be the youngest black hole that formed in our galaxy.
"It's a bit circumstantial, but we have intriguing evidence the W49B supernova also created a black hole," continued co-author Daniel Castro of MIT. "If that is the case, we have a rare opportunity to study a supernova responsible for creating a young black hole."
Supernova explosions are rare and are not entirely understood due to the limited number of recorded instances. However, the relatively close proximity of the W49B to the Earth allows scientists to learn about the properties of a supernova and a black hole formation in closer detail.
Be sure to check out the incredible video explanation of the W49B supernova below.
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