Supernova is a massive explosion that occurs in the last stages of a star's life cycle. It is estimated that a star as a supernova explodes once a second, has a sudden increase in brightness and then slowly disappears within a few weeks. A special kind of stellar explosion, called FELT (Fast-Evolving Luminous Transient), has astonished astronomers for years, because it only lasts for a very short time. It disappears in a few days instead of weeks.
Researchers can understand supernovae if they can observe them from different perspectives. But that's really difficult because nobody can tell when and where a supernova will happen next. So far only a few FELTs have been discovered in telescopic sky surveys because they are so short and hard to predict. By increasing the speed at which telescopes monitor the sky, it has been possible to see more FELTs and examine them thoroughly.
NASA's Kepler Space Telescope's ability to accurately measure starlight over long periods of time and detect subtle changes has enabled astronomers to determine the nature of the rapidly evolving light transient. Kepler ̵
"We have discovered another way in which stars die and material is distributed back into space." Brad Tucker from the Australian National University said in a statement.
Researchers concluded that the star was enveloped in a dense shell of gas and dust. When the explosive energy from the blast exploded into the shell, most of the kinetic energy was instantly converted to light, producing radiation that disappeared ten times faster than an ordinary supernova. Conventional supernova models could not explain this big difference.
Kepler's precise and continuous measurements allowed astronomers to capture more details of the FELT event than ever before. Unlike other telescopes, Kepler collects data about a sky spot every 30 minutes.
"The fact that Kepler has fully grasped this rapid development limits the exotic ways in which stars die, and the wealth of data allowed us to unravel the physical properties of the phantom explosion, for example, how much of the material Star at the end of his life has evicted and the supersonic speed of the explosion, "said David Khatami from the University of California at Berkeley. "This is the first time that we can test FELT models with a high degree of accuracy and combine theory with observations."