What is Supernovae: Definition and 53 Discussions

A supernova ( plural: supernovae or supernovas, abbreviations: SN and SNe) is a powerful and luminous stellar explosion. This transient astronomical event occurs during the last evolutionary stages of a massive star or when a white dwarf is triggered into runaway nuclear fusion. The original object, called the progenitor, either collapses to a neutron star or black hole, or is completely destroyed. The peak optical luminosity of a supernova can be comparable to that of an entire galaxy before fading over several weeks or months.
Supernovae are more energetic than novae. In Latin, nova means "new", referring astronomically to what appears to be a temporary new bright star. Adding the prefix "super-" distinguishes supernovae from ordinary novae, which are far less luminous. The word supernova was coined by Walter Baade and Fritz Zwicky in 1929.
The most recent directly observed supernova in the Milky Way was Kepler's Supernova in 1604, but the remnants of more recent supernovae have been found. Observations of supernovae in other galaxies suggest they occur in the Milky Way on average about three times every century. These supernovae would almost certainly be observable with modern astronomical telescopes. The most recent naked-eye supernova was SN 1987A, the explosion of a blue supergiant star in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite of the Milky Way.
Theoretical studies indicate that most supernovae are triggered by one of two basic mechanisms: the sudden re-ignition of nuclear fusion in a degenerate star such as a white dwarf, or the sudden gravitational collapse of a massive star's core. In the first class of events, the object's temperature is raised enough to trigger runaway nuclear fusion, completely disrupting the star. Possible causes are an accumulation of material from a binary companion through accretion, or a stellar merger. In the massive star case, the core of a massive star may undergo sudden collapse, releasing gravitational potential energy as a supernova. While some observed supernovae are more complex than these two simplified theories, the astrophysical mechanics are established and accepted by the astronomical community.
Supernovae can expel several solar masses of material at speeds up to several percent of the speed of light. This drives an expanding shock wave into the surrounding interstellar medium, sweeping up an expanding shell of gas and dust observed as a supernova remnant. Supernovae are a major source of elements in the interstellar medium from oxygen to rubidium. The expanding shock waves of supernovae can trigger the formation of new stars. Supernova remnants might be a major source of cosmic rays. Supernovae might produce gravitational waves, though thus far, gravitational waves have been detected only from the mergers of black holes and neutron stars.

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  1. RyanJ

    Astrophysics Book Around the Subjects of Supernovae and Stellar Remenants

    Hi all! It has been quite a while since I last posted here. Again. I'm currently interested in supernovae and the exotic stellar remnants that are left behind from such events. I'm interested in the physics and science surrounding this subject, it's something that I currently have an interest...
  2. S

    I Do supernovae generate neutrinos or antineutrinos?

    This Wikipedia particle says that neutrinos are generated: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supernova But this article (about SN1987A) seems to say that both neutrinos & antineutrinos were detected: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SN_1987A
  3. T

    B Pair Instability Supernovae & Electron Capture Supernovae

    Hi! I've been browsing the internet for information about supernovae and I came across this chart describing 4 types of core collapse causes (the chart may have copied weirdly because not all the information fits into this text box): Cause of collapse Progenitor star approximate initial mass...
  4. .Scott

    I Article: Supernovae sparked by dark matter in white dwarfs

    Here is the Physical Review article: "Supernovae sparked by dark matter in white dwarfs" "A ball of asymmetric dark matter accumulated inside a white dwarf and collapsing under its own weight sheds enough gravitational potential energy through scattering with nuclei to spark the fusion...
  5. Physics Dad

    Question regarding supernovae shock breakout

    Hi, I am currently studying for a masters in Astrophysics and am in my Stellar Atmospheres module. One of the questions I have been asked is with regards to the shock breakout of supernovae. Basically, the question is which type of stars show the strongest shock breakout and why? My thinking...
  6. redtree

    I Curve fitting the luminosity distance and redshift data

    Can anyone recommend papers that directly curve-fit redshift as a function of luminosity distance for type Ia supernova and gamma ray bursts? I am looking for papers that do not curve-fit the data via an assumed model, even one as simple as Friedmann–Lemaître–Robertson–Walker (FLRW) metric. I...
  7. A

    Binary Stellar System: 15M⊙ & 10M⊙ Revisited

    Homework Statement A binary stellar system is made of one star with ##M_1=15{M}_\odot## and a second star with ##M_2=10{M}_\odot## revolving around circular orbits at a relative distance of ##d=0.001pc##. At some point ##M_1## explodes in a supernovae leaving a neutron star of mass...
  8. mfb

    B Multiple supernovae from a star

    iPTF14hls was a supernova discovered in 2014. Typically they reach a brightness peak quickly and then fade over few months - but this star had several oscillations in brightness. To make it more confusing, archives from 1954 show a supernova at the same spot. News article This model can lead...
  9. S

    I Source of Heavier than Iron Nucleosynthesis

    About 10 days ago, I read this in the Nature journal: http://www.nature.com/news/colliding-stars-spark-rush-to-solve-cosmic-mysteries-1.22829?WT.ec_id=NEWSDAILY-20171016 I quote: "Over the past decade or so, astrophysicists had come to believe that this was the most plausible mechanism to...
  10. SethUzumaki

    B Types of Supernovae: Explanations & Differences

    Sometimes when I read about supernovae I notice there are different types. I was wondering if anyone could explain to me how/why there are different types of supernovae.
  11. resurgance2001

    I Euclidean differential number counts of supernovae

    Hi I am working on an assignment which is has asked us to derive an expression for a differential number count of supernovae in a euclidean flat non-expanding space. I am bit perplexed by this question and am wondering whether it is a trick question. We are allowed to do research to find an...
  12. T

    B Gold Synthesis in Supernovae

    Do we know a what stage of a supernova gold is synthesized? And when the gold is ejected, are we talking about pebble size chunks of gold or mostly dust that later coalesce?
  13. Erenjaeger

    I Rate of Supernovae in the Milky Way Galaxy: Scientists' Best Estimate

    Which option is closest to scientists' current best estimate for the rate at which a supernova explosions occur somewhere in the milky way galaxy? a) once a day b) once a year c) once every hundred years d) once every thousand years From what I have found online, the current estimate is one...
  14. 2

    Dark energy and type 1a supernovae?

    I am trying to wrap my brain around the evidence for accelerating expansion of the universe from type 1a supernovae. From what I understand, it was first realized that the universe was expanding at an increasing rate from discrepancies between the calculated distances to type 1a supernovae using...
  15. R

    Supernova Explosion near a black hole

    What would happen if there was a supernova explosion near a black hole ? Would it just sit there and absorb all the energy incident on it ? Or would it simply vaporize into elementary particles ? And if it does vaporize, could the remnants give us a clue as to the quantum state of matter inside...
  16. ChrisVer

    Initiating mechanism of supernovae

    I think that our current knowledge on the initiating mechanism of supernovae is that they happen due to neutrinos interacting with the inner layers of a star and then accelerating them away from the core. I am having some trouble in understanding that idea. Of course this could be plausible if...
  17. Dotini

    Earth mimics supernovae with TGFs. No one knows how.

    http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2013/10sep_firestation/ In recent decades researchers have discovered some strange things happening in the cloud tops. High above ordinary lightning, exotic forms known as red sprites and blue elves shoot toward the heavens, cold cousins to...
  18. S

    Supernovae and heavy elements

    Hi, I'm new here. Can someone help me with several sets of questions? I know the estimated age of the Milky Way. There is information that there are various types of supernovae in the Milky Way that occur on the average of 2.2 to 2.7 per century. My first set of question: Is this...
  19. K

    Distance modulus and redshift Ia supernovae Catalog

    Hello! I am looking for a catalog that contains redshift, modulus distance and position (if it is possible) of many type Ia supernovae as possible. I have found this: http://www.cbat.eps.harvard.edu/lists/Supernovae.html, but this link only has the position data. Does anyone know wher I...
  20. S

    Type Ia Supernovae Light Curves

    Does anyone know the mathematical form of Type Ia supernovae light curves? I am trying to analyze supernovae data. I need to fit a function to the magnitude vs time data. So I require the mathematical form for magnitude as a function of time. If anyone has any idea about that, or can suggest a...
  21. X

    Unlocking the Mystery of Supernova Energy

    Ok, this is something that I've been trying to figure out for a while now. Where does the energy for a supernova explosion come from and if the star can produce this energy, then why does it collapse under its own gravity? Surely it would have the energy to continue on as a star in whatever...
  22. D

    Supernovae Type Ia: Redshift, Luminosity & Speed

    Homework Statement Supernovae type Ia has a red shift z=1.1. Observed luminosity of the star has changed in the interval of 60 days. What time interval would an observer measure in the near vicinity of the star? What is the speed that the star is moving away from us? What is the distance of the...
  23. R

    Can Stars Become Black Holes Without Going Supernova?

    I have a question about the formation of black holes. Correct me if I am wrong but as I understand it, if you have a massive enough star that when its used up all its fuel and collapses, it will overcome the exclusion principle and crush itself into a black hole. My question is, during this...
  24. G

    Perlmutter & Supernovae: Debunking the Myth of Accelerating Galaxies

    I've been an amateur quantum physicists for most of my life, and ever since 1998 I've been wondering about this issue, but I figured someone would address it. Now they've given the Nobel to the guy and I still don't understand something. Perlmutter says that galaxies are accelerating away...
  25. Astronuc

    Arp 220 (UGC 9913, IC 4553) and Supernovae

    In a galaxy 250 million light-years from Earth, astronomers have spotted a record-breaking seven supernovae all found at the same time. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/10/111006-supernovas-universe-galaxy-evolution-arp-220-space-science/ In Arp 220, a galaxy 250 million...
  26. S

    Any difference between type 1a supernovae and a novae

    Both of them have the same binary system with a white dwarf and a companion star which result in the same bang so what actually is the difference between type 1a supernovae and a novae?
  27. A

    Belelgeuse turning into a supernovae

    With so much hype going around as to Betelgeuse turning into a supernovae in 2012, wonder whether it is possible to predict such an occurrence correct to at least a decade...
  28. E

    What are Supernovae and Hypernovae? Any resources or insights?

    Was looking for information on the aforementioned Super and hypernovae. Any resources wud be nice as well as anything you might just know about them ! thanks in advance, Pretty Emlay xxx
  29. Q

    Type Ia Supernovae: Fusion Explosion Explained

    Hi All Is it type Ia supernovae that detonate in a fusion explosion?
  30. C

    Type 1a Supernovae and Dark Energy

    Hello everyone I hope you don't mind me asking a real silly question about the original evidence for dark energy. I've been reading about how Type 1a supernovae provided the initial evidence that the expansion of the universe was accelerating. They are able to do this because they are...
  31. N

    Supernovae and Hypernovae.

    Okay, I am somewhat young (16) and i currently can't study anything at this level. But, I've always been intrigued about anything in outer space. And a thought came into my head today. I have a general idea on how supernovae and hypernovae are formed, but if you could, give a detailed answer...
  32. marcus

    Supernovae Wind Shape Small Galaxies: Governato et al.

    Governato et al. have offered a solution to a long-standing puzzle about structure formation. Published in the current issue of Nature. http://arxiv.org/abs/0911.2237 Dark matter dynamics (esp. with supercomputer simulations) has already explained a lot about structure formation. For an...
  33. E

    Nucleosynthesis and light curve of Supernovae Ia

    Hi all, I am trying to understand the connection between the specific nucleosynthesis that occurs in each step of the explosion mechanism of type Ia supernova (SN Ia). Let´s see if I got it right, type Ia SN is the complete disruption of a white dwarf(WD) once it passes through the...
  34. E

    Effective Destructive Range of Supernovae?

    Hey all, It’s been a while since I’ve visited the forums but my question is strangely one that I’ve had a difficult time trying to find an answer for. I was wondering if anyone either knows or can point me to information regarding the effective destruction radius of a supernova, preferably...
  35. Mk

    Supernovae and solar cycles found in Ice Cores

    http://arxiv.org/abs/0902.3446 So apparently gamma rays from nearby supernovae produce nitrogen oxide in the atmosphere. The team took 122-meter-long cores from Dome Fuji station in Antarctica and found three nitrogen oxide spikes in the 11th century. They think they know what two of them are...
  36. P

    Supernovae Ia and dark energy

    Hey! I made a similar question in another post and it was really useful, but I'd like to learn more about this relation, and why the propieties of SNe Ia make them so special, so we can call them standard candels and how did they lead us to the discovery of Dark Energy. Thank you!:smile:
  37. J

    Unveiling Dark Matter and Dark Energy: Exploring Galaxies and Supernovae

    why is the temperature distribution of hot gases inside galaxies evidence for dark matter and why is Type 1a Supernovae evidence for dark energy
  38. I

    Supernovae of Procyon & Capella Systems

    would star systems such as Procyon or Capella blow up as 1a supernovae?
  39. S

    Type1a supernovae as evidence for an accelerating universe

    hi i just wanted to ask if someone could explain this graph for me http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/astro/univacc.html thank you
  40. P

    Did supernovae have anything to do with the solar creation?

    Some of my friends claim that the solar creation had something to do with a supernova. I have no idea about that. Can you please explain? Thanks
  41. P

    Types of Supernovae: How to Distinguish Them

    Hi all Can anyone help me how to distingush among them? Thank you.
  42. M

    Do supernovae emit gamma rays?

    Do all types of supernovae emit gamma rays? If so, is it an initial burst, or does the GRB last as long as the visible light? If so, is the GRB in all directions or just in jets? Thanks.
  43. Holocene

    Frequency of supernovae in the universe

    Is it true that on an average day on Earth, thousands of supernovas happen some place in the universe?
  44. V

    Uranium and supernovae explosions

    Do supernova explosions produce lumps of uranium or atoms of uranium?
  45. Andre

    Please help. Supernovae database?

    of course I know that google knows the answer to any question, but it seems that there are limits. So when I want to test a certain hypothesis I need to have an overview of all known supernovaes, distance, size, etc, dated from say 30-50,000 years ago. So I typed in super nova index and that...
  46. George Jones

    New Nature Paper: Old Ia Supernovae different?

    A http://www.arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0609616" [Broken] claims that a super-Chandrasekhar Ia supernova has been found, and that "Super-Chandrasekhar mass SNe Ia should preferentially occur in a young stellar population." This, obviously, could have implications for cosmology. These "new"...
  47. Chronos

    An HST Program for the Luminosity Calibration of Type Ia Supernovae

    Here is an interesting [and important] paper, IMO: The Hubble Constant: A Summary of the HST Program for the Luminosity Calibration of Type Ia Supernovae by Means of Cepheids Authors: A. Sandage (1), G.A. Tammann (2), A. Saha (3), B. Reindl (2), F.D. Macchetto (4), N. Panagia (4)...
  48. Garth

    Recent Supernovae Ia observations tend to rule out all the cosmologies

    Recent Supernovae Ia observations tend to rule out all the cosmologies by R. G. Vishwakarma, Zacatecas University. Time for a new standard candle, epicycle or paradigm? Garth
  49. wolram

    Nucleosynthesis of PopIII Core Collapse Supernovae

    http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0507340 Nucleosynthesis of PopIII Core Collapse Supernovae and the Abundances of Extremely Metal Poor Stars Authors: Marco Limongi (INAF-OAR), Alessandro Chieffi (INAF-IAS) Comments: 6 pages, 4 figure, Proceedings of the IAU Symp. No. 228 "From Lithium to...
  50. Chronos

    Supernovae GRB Research: Insight for Fans

    Supernovae fans may find this of interest, I know I did: http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0402404
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