A team of scientists studying at Cardiff University have discovered an inventory of previously undetected molecules for the first time at the center of an exploded star. Located 163,000 light years away, the cooling aftermath of Supernova 1987A showed the scientists two previously undetected molecules, Formylium (HCO+) and Sulphur Monoxide (SO). The explosion of this star was first observed in February 1987 and thus the star was named after it.
This newly discovered molecules were accompanied by other compounds such as Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Silicon Oxide (SiO) that were previously detected. It was originally thought that such huge explosions of supernovae would completely wipe out any molecules and dust particles that may have been present already. But the discovery of these unfound molecules suggests that clouds of molecules and dust can form at extremely cold temperatures after the explosive death of such stars. These conditions are similar to those seen at the time when new stars are born.
ALMA Helps Scientists to Discover the Heart of Supernova 1987A
Scientists and astronomers have been researching on Supernova 1987A over the last 30 years but found it hard to analyze its innermost core. With the help of Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA), scientists have been able to probe the insides of the supernova with astonishing details. ALMA played a vital role in the discovery of those unexpected molecules. The team now hopes to use ALMA to study more about the discovered molecules of HCO+ and SO and also to discover any more undetected molecules within the supernova