August 24, 2012 |
Astronomers have for the first time observed a nova-producing system turn into a supernova, a finding that indicates the universe has more than one way to create a nova. A normal Type Ia supernova is a rare event, occurring perhaps once or twice every century. The type of supernova observed by a team of astronomers led by astronomer Ben Dilday of UC Santa Barbara is estimated to occur about one time in every 1,000 supernovae. The findings are important because supernovae are generally all considered to have the same intrinsic brightness, making them what astronomers call "standard candles" used for estimating distances across the cosmos.
May 19, 2010 |
Scientists have identified a type of supernova, or exploding star, that produces unusually large amounts of calcium — enough perhaps to explain the abundance of that element in the universe and in our bones. Perhaps more significant for astronomers, these calcium-rich exploding stars — eight have been identified so far — may also represent a new class of supernova, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Nature. "If it's not a new genus, it's at least a new species of supernova," said Alex Filippenko, a professor of astronomy at UC Berkeley and one of the study's 28 coauthors.
January 30, 2014 |
Twelve million years ago, a star exploded. Today, you can see it online. At 1 p.m. PST Thursday, the website Slooh.com will livestream a view of the newly discovered supernova 2014J from its telescope in the Canary Islands. Supernovas are extremely bright stellar explosions that can briefly glow brighter than an entire galaxy. This one is a Type Ia supernova, which means it used to be a white dwarf star. Although this supernova was recently discovered, the white dwarf exploded 12 million years ago. It took that long for the light from this dramatic event to reach us on Earth.
February 20, 2014 |
Staring into the dramatic corpse of a dead star known as Cassiopeia A, astronomers using NASA's NuSTAR X-ray telescope have for the first time mapped out radioactive titanium in a supernova. Charting this astrophysical frontier, as described in the journal Nature, will help scientists understand what happens when a massive star explodes. Supernova remnants are the leftover shells of gas and dust forged from within the exploding star. The beautiful video above shows how that explosion develops over roughly 150 milliseconds -- less than two blinks of an eye -- and took millions of computer hours to simulate, scientists said.
January 14, 2012 |
Type 1a supernovae, exploding stars that can outshine entire galaxies, were instrumental to the Nobel Prize-winning discovery that a mysterious "dark energy" is fueling the expansion of the universe. But astronomers haven't been able to pin down what causes these massive stellar explosions. Now, after studying a Type 1a supernova in a nearby galaxy, two researchers say that they must be the result of a collision between two white dwarf stars. They made their case this week in the journal Nature.
January 6, 2014 |
Using a powerful radio telescope, scientists have spotted an enormous cloud of dust billowing in the center of a supernova - finally. The discovery, announced at the American Astronomical Society, helps to confirm what scientists have long thought - that massive supernova explosions could have provided the dust found in the first galaxies. Early galaxies were dusty places, but where did that dust come from when the universe was still so new? Astronomers hypothesized that supernovae - the end-of-life explosions of stars at least eight times the size of our sun - may have been the source of that ancient, primordial dust.