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Royal Astronomical Society

Supernova progenitor found?

3 Aug 2012, 09:10 UTC
Supernova progenitor found?

Type Ia supernovae are violent stellar explosions. Observations of their brightness are used to determine distances in the universe and have shown scientists that the cosmos is expanding at an accelerating rate. But there is still too little known about the specifics of the processes by which these supernovae form. New research, led by Stella Kafka of the Carnegie Institution for Science in the United States, identifies a star system, prior to explosion, which will possibly become a type Ia supernova. The work will appear in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
skafka@dtm.ciw.edu (mailto:skafka@dtm.ciw.edu)

Media contacts
Natasha T. Metzler Science Writer Carnegie Institution for Science Tel: +1 202 939 1142
nmetzler@carnegiescience.edu (mailto:nmetzler@carnegiescience.edu)
Robert Massey Royal Astronomical Society Mob: +44 (0)794 124 8035 rm@ras.org.uk (mailto:rm@ras.org.uk)

A composite X-ray / optical / infrared image of the remnant of Tycho's star, a type Ia supernova seen in 1572, is available at http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap090317.html (http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap090317.html)

Further information
The new work appears in the paper "QU Carinae: Supernova Ia in the making?" S. Kafka, K. Honeycutt, B. Williams, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, in press. A preprint of the paper can be seen at http://arxiv.org/abs/1206.6798 (http://arxiv.org/abs/1206.6798)

Notes for editors
This work was funded, in part, by the NASA Astrobiology Institute.
The Carnegie Institution for Science (carnegiescience.edu (http://carnegiescience.edu)) is a private, non-profit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., with six research departments throughout the U.S. Since its founding in 1902, the Carnegie Institution has been a pioneering force in basic scientific research. Carnegie scientists are leaders in plant biology, developmental biology, astronomy, materials science, global ecology, and Earth and planetary science.
The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS, www.ras.org.uk (http://www.ras.org.uk)), founded in 1820, encourages and promotes the study of astronomy, solar-system science, geophysics and closely related branches of science. The RAS organizes scientific meetings, publishes international research and review journals, recognizes outstanding achievements by the award of medals and prizes, maintains an extensive library, supports education through grants and outreach activities and represents UK astronomy nationally and internationally. Its more than 3500 members (Fellows), a third based overseas, include scientific researchers in universities, observatories and laboratories as well as historians of astronomy and others.
Follow the RAS on Twitter via @royalastrosoc

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