Pune: Astronomers from Pune were part of an international team that detected ejected material moving at 40% the speed of light from a rare explosive transient named CSS161010 about 500 million light years away.
Transients are short duration astronomical events that appear in the sky and then fade. Scientists classified the explosion as a Fast Blue Optical Transient (FBOT). It was surrounded by a lot of matter, including hydrogen, and the extreme heat made it bluer than the standard supernovae.
These observations proved that the most luminous FBOTs have a ‘central engine’ – a source like a neutron star or black hole that powers the transient. It also established a new class of hydrogen-rich transients.
The Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope in Pune, the Karl G Jansky Very Large Array and the Chandra X-Ray Telescope observed the transient. GMRT provided the most crucial measurement at low radio frequencies to estimate the speed of the ejected material.
The researchers are Poonam Chandra and A J Nayana from NCRA-TIFR, Pune and Deanne Coppejans and R Margutti from Northwestern University, Mari-Ela Chock from WM Keck Observatory and others.
Astronomers had detected CSS161010 in late 2016, but thought it to be a normal transient. When astronomers analysed it further, they noticed peculiar properties not seen in normal supernovae.