At the end of last year, a group of researchers in Japan completed the Super-Kamiokande, considered the world’s largest neutrino observatory and which will serve as a supernova warning system.
The improvements implemented in 2021 will allow the system to recognize when these small particles from a supernova are detected in real time and send an automatic alert to telescopes around the world.
The idea is that these objects are prepared to capture the explosion of a supernova and record how “the Milky Way lights up”.
This keeps astronomers on edge, so in an article in Nature Alec Habig, an astrophysicist at the University of Minnesota, points out that this alert system “is going to make everyone’s hair stand on end”.
According to the note, the early warning of Super-Kamiokande and other neutrino observatories will cause robotic telescopes to turn towards the dying star to catch the first light of the supernova, which should arrive after the neutrino storm.
Supernovae are rarely studied closely, even though they are crucial to understanding how chemical elements that arose inside stars through nuclear fusion are dispersed throughout the galaxy.
In addition, these types of stellar explosions synthesize elements that would not exist otherwise.
For the same reason, the neutrinos that scientists hope to capture would provide “a unique window into the extreme physics that takes place inside a exploding star, and could lead to important discoveries about the fundamental forces and particles of nature,” the Nature article notes.