COUNCIL CHRONICLE – The first ever photo of a star exploding was recently captured, and it comes from a somewhat unexpected source. Rather than from a study, it was the achievement of an amateur photographer.
A Star Exploding, a Bonus Feature
Using a homemade observatory, photographer Victor Buso decided one night (on September 20, 2016) to try out his new CCD camera by looking up at the stars. Gazing towards the spiral galaxy NGC 613 through a Newtonian telescope, Buso set his camera to take 20-second exposure photographs for 90 minutes.
What he photographed was astounding, though he didn’t realize just how significant his pictures were at first. Buso noticed something as he reviewed the photographs he’d taken.
The photographer spotted a small pixel of light near the edge of the galaxy. This seemed to grow brighter in each subsequent photograph. Buso, entirely by accident, took the first ever pictures of a supernova in action.
With help from the American Association of Variable Observers (AAVSO) member Sebastian Otero, he got in contact with professional astronomers and reported what he had found.
Dubbed SN 2016gkg, the exploding star is now under intense observation by scientists across the globe. Buso and Otero are credited as co-authors in a paper released on the topic in the scientific publication Nature.
As the first known supernova ever photographed, there is much scientists can learn through observing the explosion as it happens in addition to the secrets that may be hidden within the original photographs.