Stars Are Exploding in Dusty Galaxies – We Just Can’t Always See Them

The image shows galaxy Arp 148, captured by NASA’s Spitzer and Hubble telescopes. Specially processed Spitzer data is shown inside the white circle, revealing infrared light from a supernova hidden by dust. This is one five hidden supernova documented for the first time in a recent paper. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Exploding stars generate dramatic light shows. Infrared telescopes like Spitzer can see through the haze and to give a better idea of how often these explosions occur.

You’d think that supernovae – the death throes of massive stars and among the brightest, most powerful explosions in the universe – would be hard to miss. Yet the number of these blasts observed in the distant parts of the universe falls way short of astrophysicists’ predictions. 

A new study using…

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