Chilean astronomy has managed to reach a new milestone. Drs. Mario Hamuy of the Universidad de Chile and Giuliano Pignata of the Universidad Andrés Bello have just published an article in the specialized magazine Nature on a giant stellar explosion: supernova (SN) 2009 bb.
The discovery – made at the Cerro Tololo Observatory in the northern part of the country – marks a major leap forward in world astronomy, as this supernova belongs to the exclusive club of stars that explode by expelling material in the form of jets at close to light speed.
The line of study followed by the Chilean experts, members of the Millennium Center for the Study of Supernovas (MCSS), comes in the context of the CHASE project (Chilean Automatic Supernovas Search), the central goal of which is to investigate nearby supernovas right after their respective stars have exploded. And this is what they did, using four of the six modern robotic PROMPT telescopes at the observatory.
Already last year MCSS astronomers had made history by identifying the first supernova in the world, which they christened SN 2009A. Specifically, that discovery was made by the researchers Luis González and Roberto Antezana, who during routine inspections last 21 May detected the presence of a new bright object in a place where there had been nothing two days before. In this way, both Chileans’ names were recorded in the historic annals of global astronomy.