Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope and other space-peering instruments have witnessed for the first time a star dying 60 million light-years away and going supernova in ‘real-time,’ which may provide a ‘warning system’ for other stars.

The supernova, SN 2020fqv (or SN 2020fqv) is found in the interacting Butterfly Galaxies as well as in the constellation Virgo.

Scientists were able capture the explosion in photographs that they took before and after it happened.

It was discovered first by the Zwicky Transient Facility, Palomar Observatory, San Diego, California in April 2020.

Astronomers witnessed for the first time a star dying and going supernova

Astronomers witnessed the first supernova occurring. 

Ryan Foley, an assistant professor in astronomy at UC Santa Cruz, stated that they used to talk about supernovae work as if they were crime scene investigators. They would show up after the fact to try and figure out what happened. 

“This is a different situation because we really know what’s happening and can actually see the death in actual time.”

The star was destroyed millions of years ago. However, the light is still visible today, considering how far away it is.

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, (TESS), was also observing supernovae, giving astronomers a multi-pronged view.

Samaporn Tinyanont was the first author of the study. He stated, “We rarely get the chance to examine this very near-in circumstellar materials because it is only visible during a very short period of time and we usually don’t start observing supernovas until at least a couple days after the explosion.” 

“For this supernova,” Hubble was able to make ultra-rapid observations, providing unprecedented coverage of the area right next to the star which exploded. 

The supernova, known as SN 2020fqv, is 60 million light-years away from Earth

60 million light years from Earth, the supernova, SN 2020fqv is also known.

The Hubble Space Telescope (pictured) and NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) both observed the supernova

The supernova was observed by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Satellite (TESS), and NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope (pictured).

According to the statement, Hubble, which was a joint venture between NASA, the European Space Agency and NASA, was also able “just hours after the explosion” to see material near the star.

This allowed astronomers to understand the star’s behavior before it died.

NASA’s TESS captured images of the star every thirty minutes for several days prior to the explosion and several weeks after.

To get a multi-decade view of the star’s last years, the researchers also examined Hubble data back to 1990s (it was launched in April 1990).

Foley stated, “Now we know the whole story about the star’s life from its birth to its death, through its time of death, and the aftermath.” 

“This is the most detailed view of stars like these in their last moments, and how they explode.”

The SN 2020fqv supernova is known as the “Rosetta Stone of supernovas”. It allows researchers to learn more about the store. They can verify the mass of a star (roughly 14-15 times the mass of a sun) using multiple methods. This helps astronomers understand how stars live.

Tinyanont stated that this is the first time that we have been able to verify mass using these three methods for one supernova. All of them are consistent. 

“Now we can push ahead using these different methods, and combining them because there are many other supernovas in which we have masses from one or the other method.

Foley stated that the supernova behavior they observed could have been a precursor to other supernovas, and thus create a sort-of ‘warning’ system.

“So if you notice a star start shaking around a bit, start acting up then maybe we should pay closer attention and try to understand what’s happening there before it explodes.

“As more supernovas are discovered with this type of data, we’ll be better able to understand the last few years in a star’s life.

The Royal Astronomical Society will eventually publish a study on the findings in the Monthly Notices.

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, which was launched in 1990, is still operational and has made more that 1.3 million observations.

The Hubble telescope launched via Discovery, a spaceship from Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, on April 24, 1990.

It is named for Edwin Hubble, famed astronomer and was born in Missouri, Missouri in 1889.

He is most well-known for discovering the speed at which the universe expands – now called the Hubble constant. 

The Hubble telescope is named after famed astronomer Edwin Hubble who was born in Missouri in 1889 (pictured)

The Hubble telescope is named after famed astronomer Edwin Hubble who was born in Missouri in 1889 (pictured)

Hubble has made more than 1.3 million observations since its mission began in 1990 and helped publish more than 15,000 scientific papers.

It orbits Earth at 17,000mph (27.300kph) in low Earth orbit at approximately 340 miles altitude.

Hubble’s pointing accuracy is.007 arc second, which is equivalent to being able shine a laser beam on Franklin D. Roosevelt’s head from a dime 200 miles (320 km) away.

The Hubble telescope is named after Edwin Hubble who was responsible for coming up with the Hubble constant and is one of the greatest astronomers of all-time

The Hubble telescope is named in honor of Edwin Hubble, who was responsible for the Hubble constant. He is one the greatest astronomers of all time.

Hubble’s primary mirror is 2.4 meters (7 feet, 10.5 inches) across and in total is 13.3 meters (43.5 feet) long – the length of a large school bus.

Hubble’s April 1990 launch and deployment marked the most significant advancement in astronomy since Galileo’s telescope. 

Five servicing missions and over 25 years of operation have changed our perception of the universe and our role within it.