American astronomers were able to predict an event taking place far in intergalactic space: the appearance in 2037 of an image of an exploding star, dubbed Supernova Requiem. An article about this was published in the journal Nature Astronomy.
A supernova burst behind the giant galaxy cluster MACS J0138 will not be visible to the naked eye, but available to some future telescopes. Of course, astronomers have not yet learned to predict supernova explosions with such accuracy, it is just that the star disappears and reappears. A cluster of galaxies has an enormous total mass, creating the gravitational lensing effect first predicted by Albert Einstein. This mass distorts and amplifies light from a supernova far behind it. The cluster MACS J0138 itself is located 4 billion light years from Earth, and the supernova is 10 billion light years away. From time to time, the effect disappears, and then reappears as the objects move.
In a photo taken in 2016 by the NASA Hubble Space Telescope in the near infrared, three images of the same supernova can be seen at once in the form of small specks (they are circled). The specks are slightly different in color and brightness, which means that astronomers observe three different phases of a gradually fading explosion at once. In the image of the same 2019 cluster (right), the supernova is no longer there. "For this supernova, visible in many copies at once, we can calculate the time delay when it next appears," explains lead author Steve Rodney of the University of South Carolina at Columbia. “The new case will be the most distant of all, and the predicted delay is extremely high. We can see the end of the outbreak in 2037 - give or take a couple of years."
The predicted location of the forthcoming fourth supernova image is highlighted in yellow at the top of the image. This gravitational lensing image of a supernova will appear with a long delay because the light from it will travel right through the core of the cluster, which contains the largest amount of invisible dark matter. The massive mass of the cluster will bend the light rays even more, causing a longer delay. Once again, a supernova may appear in 2042, but then it will already be so dim that, most likely, it will not be possible to see it.