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Astronomers find 'lost' neutron star.

Byline: aamir mohammed aamir.mohammed@walesonline.co.uk

THE leftovers from a spectacular supernova that revolutionised our understanding of how stars end their lives have been spotted by Cardiff University astronomers.

The scientists say they have found evidence of the location of a neutron star that was left behind when a massive star ended its life in a gigantic explosion, leading to Supernova 1987A.

For more than 30 years, astronomers had been unable to locate the neutron star at the collapsed leftover core of the giant star, as it has been concealed by a thick cloud of cosmic dust.

Dr Phil Cegan, lead author of the study, from Cardiff University's School of Physics and Astronomy, said: "For the very first time we can tell that there is a neutron star inside this cloud within the supernova remnant."

Dr Mikako Matsuura, another leading member of the study, added: "Although the light from the neutron star is absorbed by the dust cloud that surrounds it, this in turn makes the cloud shine in sub-millimetre light, which we can now see with the extremely sensitive ALMA telescope."

Supernova 1987A was first spotted by astronomers in February 1987, when it blazed in the night sky with the power of 100 million suns, and continuing to shine brightly for several months.

The presence of this thick cloud of dust has long been the main explanation as to why the missing neutron star has not been observed.

Dr Matsuura added: "We are confident that this neutron star exists behind the cloud and that we know its precise location. Perhaps when the dust cloud begins to clear up in the future, astronomers will be able to directly see the neutron star for the very first time."

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Scientists have found evidence of a missing neutron star

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Author:aamir mohammed aamir.mohammed@walesonline.co.uk
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Nov 22, 2019
Words:300
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