Supernovae

What is a Supernova? A supernova is simply defined as the explosion of a star in space.

How do they occur? Any time the center of a star is significantly altered, a supernova takes place. However, this can happen in multiple ways. First: A binary system consists of two stars that orbit the same point. The white dwarf in the system will steal matter from its companion star. After a while, it will have stolen too much matter, grown too large, and explode. Second: At the end of a stars life, it begins to run out of nuclear fuel. Therefore, some of the stars mass flows into its core. Eventually the core becomes so massive that it can't hold itself and collapses. The explosion results in a supernova.

This wonderfully drawn picture shows a diagram of a binary star system building into a supernova.
The left is before a supernova occurs. The arrow is pointing at the star. The right is after the explosion.

Theory: Supernovae have recently been used to further build on the theory of an expanding universe. Researchers recently provided observations on the farthest Supernova to date. By studying the redshift of said Supernova, they were able to provide a bit more data as to how the universe is expanding.

Not surprisingly, Supernova are hard to observe and difficult to research. The one's we usually record actually take place in other galaxies, as those occurring in the milky way block our view with clouds of dust. A lot of research goes into the types of Supernovae, and figuring out exactly how they happen. Below there are two research articles. The first one is studying the core-collapse (Type II Supernova) mechanism. In 1-D and 2-D simulations, they study exactly how the ignition process might be occurring. The second one is looking at white dwarfs (Type 1) and how they gain mass in a way that leads to carbon ignition.

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.