The Quiet Explosion
A European-led team of astronomers are providing hints that a recent supernova may not be as normal as initially thought. Instead, the star that exploded is now understood to have collapsed into a black hole, producing a weak jet, typical of much more violent events, the so-called gamma-ray bursts. The object, SN 2008D, is thus probably among the weakest explosions that produce very fast moving jets. This discovery represents a crucial milestone in the understanding of the most violent phenomena observed in the Universe.
In this image, the spiral galaxy NGC 2770 and its two supernovae as observed at the Asiago Observatory. The image was obtained on 12 January 2008 and shows the then fading SN 2007uy and the newly discovered SN 2008D.