Search

Astronomers find the progenitor to a unique type of supernova

November 15, 2018

By Ray Villard, STScI



This is an artist’s concept of a blue supergiant star that once existed inside a cluster of young stars in the spiral galaxy NGC 3938, located 65 million light-years away. It exploded as a supernova in 2017, and Hubble Space Telescope archival photos were used to located the doomed progenitor star, as it looked in 2009. (Credit: NASA, ESA, and J. Olmsted, STScI)


Astronomers may have finally uncovered the long-sought progenitor to a unique type of exploding star by sifting through NASA Hubble Space Telescope archival data. The supernova, called a type Ic, is thought to detonate after its massive progenitor star has shed or been stripped of its outer layers of hydrogen and helium.


These stars could be among the most massive known, at least 30 times heftier than our Sun. Even after shedding some of their material late in life, they are expected to be big and bright. So it was a mystery why astronomers had not been able to nab one of these stars in pre-explosion images.


Finally, in 2017, astronomers got lucky. A nearby star ended its life as a type Ic supernova. Two teams of astronomers poured through the archive of Hubble images to uncover the putative progenitor in pre-explosion photos taken in 2006. The supernova, catalogued as SN 2017ein, appeared near the center of the nearby galaxy spiral NGC 3938, located roughly 65 million light-years away.


Read the entire article at the UCSC Newscenter.

27 views

Over 60 degree tracks in over 40 graduate programs, located 40 minutes away from Silicon Valley and next door to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Contact Admissions~

Email: gradadm@ucsc.edu

Phone: 831-459-5905

 

UC SANTA CRUZ, 1156 HIGH STREET, SANTA CRUZ, CA 95064

©2018 REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Facebook - Grey Circle
  • Twitter - Grey Circle
  • YouTube - Grey Circle
  • Instagram - Grey Circle