Astronomers have received an unusual image of a distant supernova SN Zwicky. Its light was so badly distorted by the gravity of another galaxy that it turned it into an Einstein cross.
The supernova was discovered during the ZTF (Zwicky Transient Facility) survey carried out by the Palomar Observatory telescopes. It is performed in the visible and near infrared range. Its purpose is to search for objects that dramatically change their brightness, such as supernovae and gamma-ray bursts. It is also used to track comets and asteroids.
SN Zwicky attracted the attention of astronomers due to its remoteness. It broke out in a galaxy located at a distance of 4 billion light-years from Earth. The flare was seen thanks to a closer galaxy, which is located on the line between SN Zwicky and our planet. Its gravity acted as a lens, increasing the brightness of a distant supernova by 25 times.
After the discovery of the supernova, the researchers used other ground-based telescopes to take pictures of it. They were in for a surprise. The photos taken by the Keck Observatory demonstrated that the gravitational lens not only amplified the light streams from the supernova, but also distorted them in such a way that its image “quadrupled”. This curious optical effect is sometimes called the Einstein cross.
As for the supernova, it has been classified as Type Ia. Such events occur as a result of the explosion of white dwarfs that have exceeded the maximum possible limit of their mass. Since approximately the same amount of energy is always released during Ia supernova outbreaks, astronomers actively use them as standard candles to determine distances in the universe.
Earlier we talked about whether Betelgeuse could explode in the coming decades.
According to https://www.caltech.edu
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