Scientists in Australia were able to catch a stunning glimpse of Milky Way’s center filled with the remains of stars that exploded and died. According to the astronomers, the supernova produced by one of the stars may have been seen by ancient humans thousands of years ago.

The spectacular image was captured by astrophysicist Dr. Natasha Hurley-Walker of the International Center for Radio Astronomy Research. Data regarding the image was obtained by the Galactic and Extragalactic All-Sky MWA Survey, which maps the sky using radio waves operating at certain frequencies.

Through these facilities, Hurley-Walker and her colleagues were able to spot the center of Earth’s neighborhood, Milky Way.

“This new view captures low-frequency radio emission from our galaxy, looking both in fine detail and at larger structures,” she said in a press release. “Our images are looking directly at the middle of the Milky Way, towards a region astronomers call the Galactic Center.”

“It’s the power of this wide frequency range that makes it possible for us to disentangle different overlapping objects as we look toward the complexity of the Galactic Center,” Hurley-Walker added.

Upon closer inspection, the scientists discovered a total of 27 new supernova remnants within the Galactic Center. According to the scientists, these newly-discovered cosmic structures are the remains of stars that were about at least eight times more massive than the Sun. After reaching the end of their life cycles, these stars most likely collapsed and exploded, producing a massive supernova.

Hurley-Walker noted that one of the supernova remnants came from a star that may have died around 9,000 years ago. She said that the star’s explosion may have been witnessed by ancient humans during that time.

University of Melbourne’s Duane Hamacher, who is an expert in cultural astronomy, said that if the supernova was visible from Earth, it is possible that the event was referenced in the traditional practices of early indigenous tribes.

“Now that we know when and where this supernova appeared in the sky, we can collaborate with Indigenous elders to see if any of their traditions describe this cosmic event,” he said. “If any exist, it would be extremely exciting.”

Supernova remnant
Supernova remnants are the debris from exploded stars. G292.0+1.8 is a rare type of supernova remnant observed to contain large amounts of oxygen. Because they are one of the primary sources of the heavy elements (that is, everything other than hydrogen and helium) necessary to form planets and people, these oxygen-rich supernova remnants are important to study. The X-ray image of G292+1.8 from Chandra shows a rapidly expanding, intricately structured field left behind by the shattered star. The image is colored red, green, teal and purple in X-rays ranging from the lowest to highest energy levels.Recently the first detection was made of iron debris from the exploded star. Authors constructed a map of this debris, along with that of silicon and sulphur, to understand more about the explosion. They found that these three elements are mainly located in the upper right of the remnant. This is in the opposite direction from the neutron star that was formed in the explosion, and was then kicked towards the lower left of the remnant. This suggests that the origin of this kick is gravitational and fluid forces from an asymmetric explosion. If more than half of the star’s debris is ejected in one direction, then the neutron star is kicked in the other direction so that momentum is conserved. This finding argues against the idea that the copious amounts of neutrinos formed in the supernova explosion were emitted in a lop-sided direction, imparting a kick to the neutron star. NASA/CXC/SAO