Australian Supercomputer Generates Detailed Picture Of A Supernova


Ever wondered about star explosions and their aftermath? An Australian supercomputer created a stunning image of the star as it nears the end of its life. This star, which is almost 10,000-15,000 light-years far, was discovered in 1967 by CSIRO scientist ER Hill. However, too much information has not been provided.

The image was created using data from the Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope, which is owned and operated by Australia’s National Science Agency in the Western Australian country of Wajari Yamatji. The data was then sent away quickly to Perth’s Pawsey Supercomputing Research Center for further research.

More about supernova and star explosions

A supernova is possibly the largest explosion visible to humans, caused by the final push of a dying star, and it occurs when a star at least five times bigger than our sun, dies. According to NASA, stars burn massive amounts of nuclear fuel at their cores or centers. This generates a tremendous amount of energy, causing the center to become extremely hot. When a massive star’s fuel runs out, it cools down. As a result, the pressure drops. Gravity triumphs and the star abruptly collapses.

How does this Australian radio telescope work?

Setonix, a $70 million Pawsey Centre capital upgrade project, was named after the Western Australian quokka (Setonixbrachyurus). The initial phase of the supercomputer upgradationis already going on, but the following phase is known to be over by this year.

ASKAP, which is operated by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, consists of 36 dish antennas that function as a single telescope. The observational data it collects is transmitted to the Pawsey Centre via increased optical fibers for digitization and conversion into science-ready images.

When Setonix is fully operational, Pawsey claims it will be up to 30 times more effective than his previous Galaxy and Magnus systems combined.

Setonix anticipated to be a promising project


According to the researchers, their SNR-imaging venture was a great way to test the Setonix supercomputer’s capabilities. The ASKAP data is large and difficult to process, and mapping out something as complex as an SNR in great detail is no easy task. 

However, when the team put Setonix to test rendering G261.9+5.5, the supercomputer worked promisingly, producing the picture in less than a day. This is great news as it implies that more futuristic ASKAP observations could be worked with quickly by Setonix in the upcoming days, allowing scientists to get a better look at the interstellar medium and beyond.

What does Setonix’s second stage?

Even with a supercomputer, data processing is a long way process, with different progress modes bringing out a variety of potential issues. For example, the SNR image was created by combining data collected at hundreds of different frequencies, giving us a composite view of the object.

The second stage of Setonix enables data teams to process more of the massive amounts of data coming in from multiple projects in a fraction of the time. As a result, not only will researchers be able to better understand our Universe, but they will almost certainly discover new objects hidden in the radio sky. The wide range of scientific questions that Setonix will enable us to investigate in shorter time frames opens up a world of possibilities. 

This increase in computational capacity benefits all Australian researchers in all fields of science and engineering who have access to Setonix, not just ASKAP. TheThe supernova remnant is just one of many features that have now been revealed, and we can expect many more stunning images, as well as the discovery of many new celestial objects, to be released in the near future.