Biggest, Brightest Star Explosion

By: Subhash

NASA ASTRONOMERS, reported the biggest and brightest star explosion ever recorded a blast whose light began reaching Earth in the past year from 240 million light-years away.

The remnants of the explosion pose no threat to people or , but it still offers hints of a future fireworks display from another, much closer star -- a mere 7,500 light-years away -- that has been on astronomers' death-watch list for some time.

Nasa's Chandra X-ray Observatory satellite images show the supernova, SN 2006gy, was a distant star about 150 times heavier than our sun when it exploded, said Chandra team leader Nathan Smith of the USbased University of CaliforniaBerkeley.

Stars explode when they finish consuming their own envelope of gases, essentially collapsing under their own weight and enriching surrounding with radioactive ash.

Supernovas - an exploding star - happen when enormous stars have exhausted their fuel and crumble under the weight of their own gravity. But the SN 2006gy's explosion was different, and could point to how the early stars in the universe ended their lives, spraying their innards across space.

SN 2006gy, which is about 240 million light years away, surprisingly continues to burn brightly more than 250 days after its initial explosion first attracted the ' attention.

Most exploding stars wink out of sight a few months after their blast, said Mario Livio of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, who was not part of the discovery team.

"Right now, (SN 2006gy) is as bright as the brightest star," Smith said.

The luminosity of an exploding star drops quickly as the shock wave from a supernova burns through gas left over from the explosion.

The X-ray measurements made by Chandra suggested a new theory: radioactive elements created in the blast are burning away steadily.

The team is continuing to track the supernova, to see whether it continues to burn.

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