Home > Astronomy, Astrophysics, General Astronomy, Supernovae, White Dwarves > Astronomers Pin Down Origins Of “Mile Markers” For Expansion Of Universe

Astronomers Pin Down Origins Of “Mile Markers” For Expansion Of Universe


A study using a unique new instrument on the world’s largest optical telescope has revealed the likely origins of especially bright supernovae that astronomers use as easy-to-spot “mile markers” to measure the expansion and acceleration of the universe.

In a paper to appear in the Astrophysical Journal, researchers describe observations of recent supernova 2011fe that they captured with the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) using a tool created at Ohio State University: the Multi-Object Double Spectrograph (MODS). MODS measures the frequencies and intensities of light shining from a star.

Based on the frequencies of light emanating from supernova 2011fe, this type of supernova – known as Type Ia – is most likely caused by the interaction between a pair of dead stars known as white dwarfs, the astronomers concluded. One white dwarf orbits the other and sheds material onto it, until the other white dwarf becomes unstable and explodes, shining billions of times brighter than the sun.

Full Story: http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/type1a.htm

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