Thursday, February 18, 2010

Scientists Unraveling Catalyst of Supernovas

Astronomers have been using type 1a supernovas as a baseline for determining the expansion of the universe. So it becomes somewhat a sore spot when they have to admit that understanding how supernovas function or more to the point, what exactly "lights the fuse" of these titanic explosions.

Most astronomers feel that the mainstream explanation fills the bill best. From the Yahoo News article:
  • Type 1a supernovae are formed when a white dwarf star -- the collapsed remnant of an old star -- becomes unstable after it exceeds its weight limit.
This instability could come from several different causes, like"
  • the merging of two white dwarfs
  • or accretion (of) material from a sun-like companion
Recent studies using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory have results that suggest nearly all the supernovae studied came from two white dwarfs merging. Supernova through accretion should be approximately 50 times brighter in x-rays than actually observed. Further study needs to take place however to determine if this is indeed the case in all types of galaxies and not just elliptical.

Understanding how supernova work can go a long way to understanding dark matter and galaxy formation.

Complete Yahoo News article submitted by Tim Sayhill

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