February 13, 2013

Bright Supernovae May Break Chandrasekhar Limit

Tim Wogan, Physics World


AP Photo

White dwarfs forming in extreme magnetic fields could be stabilized, allowing them to get bigger before they explode, leading to a brighter bang when they finally do, according to a team of researchers in India. Type Ia supernovae, caused by exploding white dwarfs, are often used by astronomers as "standard candles" to calculate the distance to a point in space because they are extremely bright and usually have similar luminosity. But some anomalously bright type Ia supernovae that scientists could not explain have been observed recently and the new work could provide an explanation for them.

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TAGGED: White Dwarf Stars, Supernova, Chandrasekhar Limit

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