A group of scientists announced Thursday that they captured the explosive end to a red supergiant star’s life for the first time, documenting its death throes as it collapsed into a type II supernova. Scientists from Northwestern University and the University of California, Berkeley, who released a study on the star’s death, called the findings a “breakthrough” in their understanding of how the massive stars die.
The observed red supergiant, SN 2020tlf, was first detected by the University of Hawaiʻi Institute for AstronomyPan-STARRS on Maui in the summer of 2020 due to the amount of light radiating from the red supergiant, according to a press release summarizing the study’s findings. The team studied SN 2020tlf during the last 130 days of its life.
Previously, scientists believed red supergiants died quietly, fading for some time before they became supernovas — but the team said it found bright radiation from the observed red supergiant