A research team led by UNSW Canberra scientist Ivo Seitenzahl is shining a new light on the evolution of supernovae – a hotly contested topic amongst astrophysicists.
In a new paper published by Physical Review Letters, the team explains how they discovered optical emission from the shocked ejecta of thermonuclear supernova remnants.
“A supernova is essentially an exploding star,” Dr Seitenzahl said. “Not all stars will explode as a supernova to end their lives, as many low mass stars will simply turn into white dwarf stars and cool and fade away without an explosion.”
The research team’s discovery provides a new physical emission mechanism for the study of these exploding stars.