Supernova that completely destroys the star discovered by astronomers

A type of supernova that can completely annihilate the star without leaving any traces was discovered by a group of researchers who used data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia satellite.

They studied a supernova, first discovered 14 November 2016 and called SN 2016iet. They first discovered that the star that caused the explosion lived in an isolated region, a region where few stars formed. As evidence of this, there was the weak emission of hydrogen coming from the same supernova position — an unusual thing for such a massive star.

They then discovered other strange characteristics: the long duration of the explosion, the great energy emitted and the unusual chemical traces emitted by the explosion relatively poor of heavier elements, things for which there are no similar sightings in the astronomical literature. In the study, published in the Astrophysical Journal, other features of the star that exploded and gave birth to the supernova are described.

It had 200 times the mass of our Sun. These are very large and massive stars that live little (life can be estimated in millions of years) and that usually die emitting large amounts of heavy metals into the surrounding space. The core, however, collapses and becomes a neutron star or black hole.

In these supernovae, the core that collapses produces large amounts of gamma rays. This, in turn, causes a large production of particle pairs and antiparticles on the run, and this leads to a catastrophic thermonuclear explosion that practically annihilates the entire star, including the nucleus.

The theory concerning supernovae with couple instability predicted that these explosions could only occur in environments that were poor in metal, such as dwarf galaxies or the primordial universe. And this discovery confirms it: the supernova SN 2016iet has, in fact, occurred in a metal-dwarf galaxy at a billion light-years away from us.

“This is the first supernova in which the mass and metal content of the exploding star falls within the range predicted by theoretical models,” reports Sebastian Gomez, a researcher at the Center for Astrophysics and one of the authors of the study.

Very thin thermal nanoscale made with graphene to counteract heat in electrical devices

One of the main problems with electrical devices is that they generate a lot of heat. This defect also involves electric devices equipped with batteries, in fact in these cases it is perhaps even more serious given that a higher level of heat can contribute not only to malfunctions of the device but also to damage the battery, leading in some cases, as in the batteries to lithium, at an explosion risk.

Precisely for this reason, various materials are used, such as glass or plastic, to isolate the electrical components that generate more heat, first of all microprocessors.

A group of Stanford researchers has created a new insulating barrier made from very thin materials that can be stacked like sheets of paper right at the hottest points of electronic devices and that provide the same type of insulation as a 100 times thicker glass plate.

The study, published in Science Advances, describes these thermal nanoscale made of materials as thin as an atom. They are made from a layer of graphene and three other materials structured to resemble very thin sheets, each with a thickness of three atoms. A four-layer insulating barrier is thus created that is only 10 atoms deep and is able to dampen the heat vibrations at the atomic level. The same heat loses most of its energy as it passes through each layer.

“We adapted this idea by creating an insulator that uses several layers of atomically thin materials instead of a thick mass of glass,” says Sam Vaziri, lead author of the study. Now the same researchers are looking for a method to deposit these very thin layers on electronic components during the production of the latter.

In any case, as reported in the press release, the long-term goal of the scientists themselves is to be able to one day control the vibrational energy within the materials as electricity or light is now controlled, something that seems increasingly possible given the great advances in heat-related research in solid objects made in recent years.