Amazing Video Shows The First Flash Of An Exploding Star Ever Caught On Film
The Kepler telescope reportedly captured the flash of an exploding star for the very first time.
According to NASA, the red supergiant star was 500 times bigger and 20,000 times brighter than the sun. It apparently exploded in 2011 approximately 1.2 billion light-years from Earth.
The NASA video below shows a mind-blowing cartoon animation based on "photometric observations" made by Kepler, which was hunting for new planets when the explosion was discovered.
In a statement, Kepler scientist Peter Garnavich said,
In order to see something that happens on timescales of minutes, like a shock breakout, you want to have a camera continuously monitoring the sky. You don't know when a supernova is going to go off, and Kepler's vigilance allowed us to be a witness as the explosion began.
Known as a "shock breakout," the flash of the explosion was visible for just about 20 minutes.
Such explosions, or supernovae, occur when stars larger than the sun grow so old, they run out of the fuel needed to hold their cores together, according to Mashable.
A supernova results in vital elements spreading throughout the star's galaxy.
Kepler project scientist Steve Howell said,
All heavy elements in the universe come from supernova explosions. For example, all the silver, nickel and copper in the Earth and even in our bodies came from the explosive death throes of stars.
Without supernovae, Howell added, mankind would not exist.