ODT: Dead star secrets coming into focus

John Gibb writes in the Otago Daily Times about astronomer (and former kiwi) Dr Stuart Ryder, who is part of an international team of scientists figuring out we aren’t seeing nearly as many supernovae as we should be.

Supernovae (exploding stars) have been less plentiful, at least observably, in some galaxies than scientists had expected: some of the new strategies being used to detect them include using laser beams to hit sodium atoms in the stratosphere.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“He noted that some core-collapse supernovae were effectively “missing” in distant starburst galaxies where they were expected to be plentiful.

“However, recent international research showed that huge amounts of dust found in some of these galaxies blocked the light emitted from some supernovae, making them extremely hard to detect.”