Home > Astronomy, Astrophysics, General Astronomy, Stars, Supernovae > Observationally Confirmed Supernova Explosion Of A Yellow Supergiant Star

Observationally Confirmed Supernova Explosion Of A Yellow Supergiant Star


Credit: Conrad Jung

Credit: Conrad Jung

Observational results of the Hubble Space Telescope announced in March 2013 confirmed the theoretical prediction by the Bersten team at the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe that the yellow supergiant star found at the location of supernova SN 2011dh in the famous nearby galaxy M51 was indeed the star that exploded.

The nature of the progenitor star (or progenitor system) of core-collapse supernovae and the origin of their diversity are important open questions in the field of astrophysics. It has been believed that most massive stars explode when they become red supergiants, or, alternatively, blue compact stars (the so-called Wolf-Rayet stars).

The supernova SN 2011dh that appeared in the M51 galaxy (Figure 1) revealed a different story. Two groups of astronomers independently detected a yellow supergiant (YSG) star at a location closely matching that of the supernova in archival images obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) before the supernova explosion. A question then arose as to how such a star could undergo a supernova explosion. The YSG phase is an intermediate, short-lived stage in the evolutionary models of single stars, during which no supernova explosions are expected to occur.

Full Story: http://www.ipmu.jp/node/1537

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