Episode 622

Finally! An Explanation for One of the Most Powerful Supernovae Ever Seen

00:00:00
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00:09:37

January 31st, 2020

9 mins 37 secs

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About this Episode

In 2006, astronomers spotted the telltale sign of a supernova detonating in the galaxy NGC 1260, located about 240 million light-years away in the constellation of Perseus. As telescopes around the world turned their collective light-gathering power on the expanding explosion designated as SN 2006gy, they realized they were seeing something very unusual.

This clearly wasn’t a regular supernova. It grew to be 100 times brighter than the typical stellar explosion and lasted much much longer.

More than a decade after that cosmic explosion, astronomers finally think they know what series of events led to the release of this much energy, now called a superluminous supernova. A red giant ate a white dwarf. An event so rare it probably accounts for only 1 in 1000 supernovae.

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Team: Fraser Cain - @fcain / [email protected]
Karla Thompson - @karlaii / https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEItkORQYd4Wf0TpgYI_1fw
Chad Weber - [email protected]

References:
https://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2007/07may_bigsupernova
https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2020/01/24/the-brightest-supernovae-of-all-have-a-suspiciously-common-explanation/#179f6c4e20c0
https://science.sciencemag.org/content/367/6476/415
https://www.mpa-garching.mpg.de/797272/news20200124
https://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/science/objects/cataclysmic_variables.html
https://www.space.com/superluminous-supernova-explosion-explained.html
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZKiWGT4Za4&list=PLbJ42wpShvml6Eg22WjWAR-6QUufHFh2v&index=153&t=0s

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