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For almost a century, astronomers have been studying supernovae with great interest. These miraculous events are what take place when a star enters the final phase of its lifespan and collapses, or is stripped by a companion star of its outer layers to the point where it undergoes core collapse. In both cases, this event usually leads to a massive release of material a few times the mass of our Sun.
However, an international team of scientists recently witnessed a supernova that was a surprisingly faint and brief. Their observations indicate that the supernova was caused by an unseen companion, likely a neutron star that stripped its companion of material, causing it to collapse and go supernova. This is therefore the first time that scientists have witnessed the birth of a compact neutron star binary system.
Study - Supernova - Neutron - Star - Binary
The study, titled “A hot and fast ultra-stripped supernova that likely formed a compact neutron star binary“, recently appeared in the journal Science. The study was led by Kishalay De, a graduate student from Caltech’s Department of Astrophysics, and included members from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Jet Propulsion Laboratory, The Weizmann Institute of Science, the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and multiple universities and observatories.
The team’s research was conducted primarily in the laboratory of Mansi Kasliwal, an assistant professor of astronomy at Caltech and a co-author on the study. She is also the principal investigator of the Caltech-led Global Relay of Observatories Watching Transients Happen (GROWTH) project, an international astronomical collaboration that is focused on studying the physics of transient (short-lived) events – i.e. supernovae, neutron stars, black hole mergers, and near-earth asteroids.
Sake - Study - Team - Event - IPTF
For the sake of their study, the team observed the supernova event known as iPTF 14gqr, which appeared in the outskirts of a spiral galaxy about...
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