Type Ia supernovae are violent stellar explosions. Observations of their brightness are used to determine distances in the universe and have shown scientists that the cosmos is expanding at an accelerating rate. But there is still too little known about the specifics of the processes by which these supernovae form. New research, led by Stella Kafka of the Carnegie Institution for Science in the United States, identifies a star system, prior to explosion, which will possibly become a type Ia supernova.
The work will appear in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
The widely accepted theory is that type Ia supernovae are thermonuclear explosions of a white dwarf star that's part of a binary system -- two stars that are physically close and orbit around a common centre of mass. The white dwarf has mass gradually donated to it by its companion. When the white dwarf mass eventually reaches 1.4 times that of the sun, it explodes to produce a type Ia supernova. The crucial questions are: What is the nature of the donor star and how does this white dwarf increase its mass. Also, how would that process affect the properties of the explosion?
M Paul Lloyd wrote:I recall a film................... Dark Star, sorry but unstable stars just rang a bell............ I'll leave it hanging there.
Willxx wrote: (can't remember specifics!)
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