Supernova may be in a new class | Science News



Support credible science journalism.

Subscribe to Science News today.


Supernova may be in a new class

Oddball stellar explosion doesn’t match known outbursts

4:52pm, June 17, 2009

Just in time for July 4, astronomers say they have found a new type of stellar firecracker.

Stars that die an explosive death generally fall into two categories: young, massive stars that collapse under their own weight and hurl their outer layers into space, and older, sunlike stars that undergo a thermonuclear explosion. But the stellar explosion recorded in January 2005 and known as SN 2005E doesn’t fit either class, according to a new analysis reported online June 11 at

The explosion ejected only a small amount of material — the equivalent of 0.3 solar masses — and erupted in the halo of an isolated galaxy, a region devoid of any star formation. These findings suggest that the explosion, or supernova, did not arise from the collapse of a massive star, report study coauthors Hagai-Binyamin Perets and Avishay Gal-Yam of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, and their colleagu

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from this issue of Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content