The final moments of a star can be considered one of the most dramatic and violent events in space and astronomers had a front-row seat. They used ground-based telescopes which allowed them to get the first real-time look at the death of a red supergiant star. Red supergiant stars are not the brightest or most massive stars, but they are the largest in terms of volume.
A very popular red supergiant star is Betelguese, which was predicted to go supernova however, it is still around. The star astronomers were focused on at this time was located in the NGC 5731 galaxy roughly 120 million light-years away from Earth. The star was also 10 times more massive than the sun before it exploded.
When some stars are dying, they experience violent eruptions or release glowing hot layers of gas. Before this recent event astronomers thought red supergiants were quieter at the end of their life. Red supergiant stars will either explode into a supernova or collapse into a dense neutron star. In this case, the scientists watched the star blow up and turn into a type II supernova.
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