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Supernova

An international team of astronomers from Europe, Israel and the United States has succeeded in shedding light on the origin of Type la supernovae – powerful nuclear explosions in deep space that allow us to chart the vast distances between galaxies. It is known that a white dwarf star is responsible for creating the distinctive, intensely bright explosion, but the cause of the supernovae are still a topic of hot debate.

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NASA astronomers may have found a way to take more precise measurements of the distances between galaxies. Currently, astronomers use a certain type of supernova, known as a Type la supernova, to gauge the distances between galaxies and from this, the rate at which the universe is expanding. The reason that this particular breed of supernova is singled out for this purpose, is that when they explode, they give out a very similar amount of light. Read More
An international team led by astronomers from Queen's University Belfast has identified the fastest ever star on an escape trajectory from the Milky Way – the white dwarf US708, which is traveling at a staggering 1,200 km per sec (746 miles per sec). The discovery of this star may shed light on the astronomical events that are vital to the calculation of distances in our universe. Read More
A team of astronomers led by the Australian National University (ANU) has discovered a lens of galactic proportions. Using the Hubble Space Telescope and the Keck Observatory in Hawaii, the scientists saw a supernova not once, but four times by using the gravity of a distant cluster of galaxies to act as a natural lens that magnified and quadrupled the image of the exploding star. Read More
A team of ESO astronomers have discovered two stars at the heart of a planetary nebula that are destined to collide some 700 million years from now, igniting a vast supernova explosion. The findings support theories concerning Type Ia supernovae and the irregular shape of some nebulae. Read More
Observations recorded in a study by researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian and Dartmouth College have shed light on the interior of the much-studied exploded star, Cassiopeia A. Using the astronomical equivalent of a CAT scan, the team created an interactive 3D map of the exploded star, showing that the supernova remnant is made up of a series of massive cavities. Read More
A star accompanying a rare type of supernova in close orbit has been discovered by astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. Confirming a long-held theory that the explosion originated in a binary star arrangement, observations verify that the companion star precipitated the destruction of the aging primary star by drawing off mass until its core collapsed and triggered a supernova event. Read More
Using an instrument mounted on the European Southern Observatory's (ESO's) Very Large Telescope (VLT), scientists have been able to shed light on some of the mysteries surrounding stardust by observing the event and aftermath of a supernova. The observation was undertaken in an attempt to answer a number of questions regarding stardust, chief of which being where and how the grains are formed and grow. Another oddity that the team hoped to resolve was just how these tiny, fragile particles manage to survive the inhospitable environment that prevails following a supernova. Read More
Magnetars are extremely dense and highly magnetic neutron stars that can form when a star goes supernova. They are extremely rare, and until now, it has been difficult to determine how and why they form. However, thanks to new data collected by the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile, astronomers believe they have finally solved the great mystery. Read More
NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) is unraveling the mystery of how stars go supernova by mapping the remnants of radioactive material left in the wake of a supernova. The findings go against previous theories to create a more chaotic view of the conditions prevailing directly before a star explodes. Read More
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