TechExplosion of ancient supermassive star contradicts our understanding of space

Explosion of ancient supermassive star contradicts our understanding of space

Black hole - visualization
Black hole - visualization
Images source: © Wikimedia Commons
8:59 AM EST, January 15, 2024

Science Alert explains that astronomers are currently studying how an ancient star, whose mass was at least 50 times greater than that of the Sun, might have exploded. The possible explosion of this star could contradict our existing scientific knowledge.

The star J0931+0038 examined by scientists has an "odd composition," reports Science Alert. According to astronomers, this Milky Way object demonstrates a composition suggestive of the remnants of a massive ancient star, about 50 times the size of the Sun.

However, the strangest aspect of this discovery is that, theoretically, such a large object's explosion should lead to an immediate collapse into a black hole, according to scientists. Unexpectedly, the object would experience a supernova explosion.

"Whatever happened, it must have been incredible," comments Alex Ji. Scientists clarify that J0931+0038 is a red giant initially identified by the SDSS in 1999. The full spectrum of the star's light was finally recorded 20 years later, in 2019, which led to a deeper understanding of this low-mass red giant's chemical composition. Scientists regularly study objects like these as their age can illuminate the mysteries of the early universe.

However, the spectrum of J0931+0038 revealed an incomparable composition to anything previously found. It included deficient elements such as sodium and aluminum with high iron, nickel, and zinc levels. The content of elements heavier than iron, like strontium and palladium, exceeded known scientific norms.

New stars, including J0931+0038, are formed from gas clouds.
New stars, including J0931+0038, are formed from gas clouds.© CSA, ESA, James Josephides, Melissa Weiss, NASA, S5, SDSS-V, The text "StSci" is already in English as it seems to be a proper name or acronym. So, it doesn't need to be translated., University of Chicago, Yuri Beletsky

The research team concluded that the metals identified in J0931+0038 likely originated from another nucleosynthetic source with a mass ranging between 50 to 80 solar masses. Theorists expected this object to have exploded and ejected elements that eventually contributed to J0931+0038's formation. What's surprising, though, is that such a massive star is hypothesized to collapse inwardly due to gravity, not explode outwardly.

Scientists highlight that no current star and element formation models can adequately explain this space anomaly. Meanwhile, Science Alert underscores that this explosion, currently under investigation, remains a mystery. To better understand this, we need to find more stars with this unique composition and study them further.

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