Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Super-rare, super-luminous supernovae are likely explosion of universe's earliest stars

Date:
November 1, 2012
Source:
University of Toronto
Summary:
The most-distant, super-luminous supernovae found to date have been observed by an international team of astronomers. The stellar explosions would have occurred at a time when the universe was much younger and probably soon after the Big Bang.

This is an artist's impression of a super-luminous supernova exploding in an interacting and very strongly star-forming galaxy at high redshift.
Credit: Marie Martig and Adrian Malec, Swinburne University

The most-distant, super-luminous supernovae found to date have been observed by an international team, including Raymond Carlberg of the University of Toronto's Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics. The stellar explosions would have occurred at a time when the universe was much younger and probably soon after the Big Bang.

Related Articles


"The objects are both unusually bright and unusually slow to fade. These are properties that are consistent with what is known as pair-instability supernova, a rare mechanism for explosion which is expected to happen for high-mass stars with almost no metal content. That is, the very first stars to form," said Carlberg.

The two supernovae, identified as SN2213 and SN1000+2016, were discovered in image data obtained via the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Legacy Survey. In recent years, various surveys have enabled astronomers to open new windows on the universe, including the discovery over the past decade of super-luminous supernovae that are tens to hundreds of times more luminous than regular supernovae. "The Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Legacy Survey stands out as the first really deep survey of the sky, covering large volumes of the universe," said Carlberg, a Canadian leader of the Survey.

All of the processing of the image data was done at U of T using a search technique that first vastly narrows the search to the high redshift star-forming galaxies and then looks for supernovae that are more luminous than normal supernovae and have unusually long fading times -- precisely the characteristics of pair-instability supernovae.

The pair-instability explosion mechanism only occurs in stars that are about 150-300 times more massive than the sun, explains Carlberg. No stars that massive form in the current universe because as stars are assembled they start nuclear burning and push away additional gas. However, in the very early days of the universe, the metal abundance of the gas is essentially zero, making it almost transparent so that it can fall on the forming star.

Such massive stars do not last long. They are so hot in the centre that pressure is lost causing a collapse to start, which then heats up the core even more. Eventually enough oxygen and silicon are created that their fusion causes a nuclear explosion much more luminous than other supernova mechanisms.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Toronto. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jeff Cooke, Mark Sullivan, Avishay Gal-Yam, Elizabeth J. Barton, Raymond G. Carlberg, Emma V. Ryan-Weber, Chuck Horst, Yuuki Omori and C. Gonzalo Diaz. Superluminous supernovae at redshifts of 2.05 and 3.90. Nature, 2012 DOI: 10.1038/nature11521

Cite This Page:

University of Toronto. "Super-rare, super-luminous supernovae are likely explosion of universe's earliest stars." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121101141222.htm>.
University of Toronto. (2012, November 1). Super-rare, super-luminous supernovae are likely explosion of universe's earliest stars. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121101141222.htm
University of Toronto. "Super-rare, super-luminous supernovae are likely explosion of universe's earliest stars." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121101141222.htm (accessed March 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Friday, March 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Supermassive Blackhole Detector Ready for Business

Supermassive Blackhole Detector Ready for Business

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) Construction of the world&apos;s largest and most powerful observatory designed to detect and analyze gamma rays has been completed in Mexico. Gamma ray particles are considered the most energetic in the universe and scientists hope to use the observatory to learn more about the supernovas and black holes that produce them. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rocket Blasts Off Carrying U.S. Air Force GPS Satellite

Rocket Blasts Off Carrying U.S. Air Force GPS Satellite

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) A U.S. Air Force GPS IIF-9 satellite launches aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket into semi-synchronous orbit. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Opportunity's Marathon: The Mars Rover Just Keeps Going

Opportunity's Marathon: The Mars Rover Just Keeps Going

Newsy (Mar. 24, 2015) NASA&apos;s Opportunity Mars Rover finished a full marathon, making it the first human creation to do a full 26.2 miles on another planet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Twin Astronaut to Break NASA Record in Study

Twin Astronaut to Break NASA Record in Study

AP (Mar. 23, 2015) NASA astronaut Scott Kelly will be the first American to spend a year aboard the International Space Station in an experiment to test human endurance in space, while his twin brother&apos;s health is compared on Earth. (March 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins