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An unusual white dwarf may be a supernova leftover

Date:
August 17, 2017
Source:
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Summary:
Astronomers have identified a white dwarf star in our galaxy that may be the leftover remains of a recently discovered type of supernova.
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Astronomers have identified a white dwarf star in our galaxy that may be the leftover remains of a recently discovered type of supernova. The properties of this unusual white dwarf, known as LP 40-365, may help scientists determine how such unusual supernovae are created, say Stephane Vennes and colleagues.

A common group of exploding stars, known as Type Ia supernovae, have a fairly uniform brightness that makes them useful for cosmology. Type Ia supernovae are caused by the complete destruction of a white dwarf star in a thermonuclear explosion. Recently, astronomers have discovered a related form of supernova, called Type Iax, which look like Type Ia, but are much fainter.

Type Iax supernovae may be caused by the partial destruction of a white dwarf star in such an explosion. If that interpretation is correct, part of the white dwarf should survive as a leftover object. The scientists have identified LP 40-365 as an unusual white dwarf with a low mass, high velocity and strange composition -- exactly as might be expected for the leftover star from a Type Iax event.

They calculate that the explosion must have occurred between five and 50 million years ago.


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Materials provided by American Association for the Advancement of Science. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. Vennes, P. Nemeth, A. Kawka, J. R. Thorstensen, V. Khalack, L. Ferrario, E. H. Alper. An unusual white dwarf star may be a surviving remnant of a subluminous Type Ia supernova. Science, 2017; 357 (6352): 680 DOI: 10.1126/science.aam8378

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American Association for the Advancement of Science. "An unusual white dwarf may be a supernova leftover." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 August 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170817141739.htm>.
American Association for the Advancement of Science. (2017, August 17). An unusual white dwarf may be a supernova leftover. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 12, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170817141739.htm
American Association for the Advancement of Science. "An unusual white dwarf may be a supernova leftover." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170817141739.htm (accessed April 12, 2024).

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