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Ancient Supernova Mystery Solved

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Author Topic: Ancient Supernova Mystery Solved  (Read 65 times)
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« on: December 03, 2008, 11:23:30 pm »


              The remnant of Tycho's supernova
              as it appears today

The new measurements may also shed light on important, unsolved questions about how type Ia supernovae arise.

In one model, a white dwarf star accumulates (accretes) material from a companion star until it reaches a critical mass and undergoes a thermonuclear explosion. 
The remnant of Tycho's supernova as it appears today

In another, the accretion occurs by the merging of two white dwarfs.

The proximity of Tycho - which lies in the Milky Way - makes it an ideal candidate for more detailed studies.

"The technique of observing light echoes from supernovae is a remarkable observational tool," said Dr Andrea Pastorello, of Queens University, Belfast.

"It will allow astrophysicists to characterise other supernova remnants in our galaxy and in nearby galaxies.

"This will hopefully clarify the relationship between supernova relics and their explosion mechanisms.

"Finally, it is likely that precise information about the frequency of the different supernova types in our galaxy and its surroundings will shed light on the star-formation history and chemical evolution of the local group of galaxies."
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