April 13, 2024

Supernova Forensics: Eight Years Later, a Mysterious Stellar Explosion Is Still Revealing Secrets

The supernova referred to as 2014C took place 8 years ago– but scientists are still learning and viewing from its consequences. The very faintly noticeable surge is shown circled in red. Credit: Sloan Digital Sky Survey
Research study including University of Chicago scientists examines consequences of 2014 supernova.
A worldwide group of astronomers has actually discovered new clues about a mysterious excellent explosion that was discovered eight years earlier, but is continuing to develop even as scientists enjoy.
The outcomes assist astronomers much better comprehend the process of how massive stars– giants far larger than our own sun– live and pass away.
The study was released in The Astrophysical Journal by a group led by the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) and consisting of scientists from the University of Chicago.

The common-envelope disk (blue) surrounds both stars, the one blowing up as a supernova and its binary partner (not shown). By doing this many times, astronomers have actually determined signatures and grouped these taking off stars into classifications. Researchers believe 2014C was probably originally not one but 2 stars orbiting each other, one larger than the other. If the cloud had actually formed a “donut” around the two stars– that is, thicker around the middle– the thicker part of the ring would slow down the shockwave, revealing up in the optical light as slower-moving material.” In a broad sense, the question of how enormous stars lose their mass is the huge scientific concern we were pursuing,” stated UT Austin teacher and team member J. Craig Wheeler.

The lives of 2014C
In 2014, astronomers identified an unexpected brilliant area in the sky– a sure sign that a star had taken off out in area.
When a taking off star is first identified, astronomers all around the world race to follow it with telescopes as the light it produces changes quickly gradually. By watching how it develops, utilizing telescopes that can see noticeable light and likewise X-rays, radio waves, and infrared light, researchers can deduce the physical attributes of the system.
This schematic reveals the numerous ejecta and winds (red and purple) offered off by the blowing up star (left, yellow). The common-envelope disk (blue) surrounds both stars, the one taking off as a supernova and its binary partner (disappointed). The border layer around the common-envelope disk is the source of the hydrogen the team discovered. Credit: B. Thomas et al./ UT Austin
By doing this sometimes, astronomers have actually recognized signatures and organized these exploding stars into categories. 2014C, as this specific occasion was named, looked like whats called a Type Ib supernova. They are what takes place when the biggest known stars in deep space die.
In reality, researchers believe 2014C was probably originally not one but 2 stars orbiting each other, one larger than the other. The more massive star evolved quicker, broadened, and its outer layer of hydrogen got sucked away. When it ultimately lacked fuel, its core collapsed, triggering a massive surge.
Research Study Prof. Vikram Dwarkadas
Observations in the first 500 days after the surge had shown that it was giving off more X-rays over time, which was uncommon and seen just in a little number of supernovae. “It recommended that the shockwave was interacting with thick product,” said Vikram Dwarkadas, University of Chicago research teacher of astronomy and astrophysics.
The group set out to collect all of the data on 2014C, including brand-new information they got as well as from studies over the past eight years, and to fit it into a cohesive image of what took place to the star.
The X-ray emissions, infrared light, and radio waves all showed the distinctive pattern of increasing and then decreasing. The optical light– determined by UT Austins Hobby-Eberly Telescope– appeared to remain stable. The radio signal revealed that the shockwave was broadening at a really high speed, whereas the optical light showed a much slower speed.
The researchers recommended that the odd behavior involved a dense cloud of hydrogen around the 2 stars that was left over from earlier in their life times.
When the star blew up, it produced a shockwave taking a trip at something like 67 million miles per hour in all directions. As the shockwave reached this cloud, its behavior would be affected by how the cloud was shaped.
When the largest known stars in the universe die, these supernovae are what happen.
In the most basic design, this cloud would be presumed to be round and symmetrical. If the cloud had formed a “donut” around the 2 stars– that is, thicker around the middle– the thicker part of the ring would slow down the shockwave, showing up in the optical light as slower-moving product. On the other hand, in the thinner areas, the shockwave would rush forward, as seen in the radio waves. “Think of the water hitting a rock in the center of the river,” Dwarkadas said.
Concerns stay, the researchers said, however this disproportion could represent the various speeds of the shockwave indicated by the different wavelengths.
The study supplied valuable clues regarding the advancement of these stars and mass lost from these systems, and in a bigger sense to the lives and deaths of these relatively mysterious stars, the researchers stated.
” In a broad sense, the question of how huge stars lose their mass is the huge clinical question we were pursuing,” said UT Austin teacher and team member J. Craig Wheeler. “How much mass? Those were the macro concerns we were going after.
” And 2014C just ended up being a truly essential single occasion thats illustrating the procedure.”
For more on this research, see Extraordinary Supernova Reveals Secrets to Astronomers.
Reference: “Seven Years of SN 2014C: a Multi-Wavelength Synthesis of an Extraordinary Supernova” by Benjamin P. Thomas, J. Craig Wheeler, Vikram V. Dwarkadas, Christopher Stockdale, Jozsef Vinko, David Pooley, Yerong Xu, Greg Zeimann and Phillip MacQueen, 4 May 2022, The Astrophysical Journal.DOI: 10.3847/ 1538-4357/ ac5fa6arXiv: 2203.12747
The research study was led by Benjamin Thomas of the University of Texas at Austin. The other scientist from the University of Chicago on the paper was Yerong Xu, SM20, now with the University of Palermo in Italy. For the full list of partners and telescopes, see the paper.
Financing: U.S. National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Energy, NASA, Chandra Observatory, Hungary National Research, Development and Innovation Office.