SPOD • 10 Feb 2016
Death of a Star

A supernova, a star that just ended its life in an explosion, was discovered on Feb 8, 2016 in a nearby galaxy known as Centaurus A.  The galaxy is well known for its peculiar and prominent dust lane and for it hosting one of the closest active galactic nuclei with massive radio jets. SALT took a spectrum of the supernova just hours after its discovery.  More spectra were taken in the following nights, and are being analysed by SALT partners at Dartmouth and Rutgers Universities in the U.S. The shown image consists of short exposures taken during the acquisition of the spectroscopic observation.  It is combined from u’, g’, and r’ band observations. The thick dust disk of the galaxy is obscuring its nucleus, shining from behind it.  The Supernova is seen as a reddish dot just underneath a brighter foreground star in our Milky Way.  Without any further studies and spectra, just the red colour of the Supernova indicates that it has exploded deep inside the dust disk.  The red colour comes from the reddening, or extinction, effect of the dust in front of it, similarly than looking at a sun through thick smoke.  Blue dots at the sides of the dust disk, in contrast, are regions of very young stars unobscured by dust. Research groups around the world will likely be studying the Supernova, dubbed SN2016adj, over the next weeks as it first likely gets brighter, and then dims away. SALT observations were done by Éric Depagne and Thea Koen.
A supernova, a star that just ended its life in an explosion, was discovered on Feb 8, 2016 in a nearby galaxy known as Centaurus A.
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