A violent Supernova has been observed, can possibly end the longstanding origin mystery

Artistic Representation of Supernova

Supernovas mean a lot too astronomers as they help them understand the universe, especially the Type Ia — the brilliance outputted by them allows the astronomers to seen great distances and also their explosions tend to synthesise the basic elements which make-up worlds.

Such a supernova with unique and unusual chemical signature has been detected — Unique and unusual because hydrogen is the most-abundant element in the universe yet it has never seen in a type Ia supernova, but in this one (Supernova ASASSN-18tb), the observations taken by the Magellan telescopes at Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory, Chile, were crucial to detecting the emissions of hydrogen.

This unique supernova was detected by a team of astronomers from Carnegie Institute, led by Juna Kollmeier. The report by them has been published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

What we know is that, thermonuclear explosion of a white dwarf (a dead star) lead to the origination Type Ia Supernovae. What we don’t know is that, the thing or the process that leads to this explosion, maybe it’s something in the dead core of the exhausted star — the mystery still remains.

A theory exists that when a white dwarf gains matter from a nearby or companion star, it triggers a process that ultimately leads to a thermonuclear explosion. But as there is no evidence that supports this hypothetical theory, its been just a topic of discussion.

To unravel more mysteries regarding Type Ia supernovae, the team has already begun its survey of another supernovae called the 100IAS. The idea is to put together a new theory that explains type Ia supernovae explosions with a collision between two white dwarfs.

Other than that, in recent years, there have been some cases where the type Ia supernovae have been found to be clocked in exceptionally large amount of hydrogen, but still the ASASSN-18tb was different. “Maybe the supernova ASASSN-18tb was like the previous supernovas, but there are still some striking differences that aren’t so easy to explain”, said Kollmeier.

The two major differences that make the ASASSN-18tb unique are:

  • In all previous studies, the hydrogen clocked type Ia supernovae occurrence was detected in star forming galaxies with plenty of hydrogen but ASASSN-18tb occurred in a galaxy of old stars.
  • The amount of hydrogen surrounding the ASASSN-18tb was significantly less as compared to other type 1as.

Josh Simon, one of the co-authors, said “I have been looking for such a signature for a decade. It’s so rare, making it an important piece to solve the mystery behind the originations of Type 1a Supernovae.”