Northwestern University | 2020 Jul 23
Event also could give insight into dark energy and the creation of iron
For just the second time ever, astrophysicists have spotted a spectacular flash of ultraviolet (UV) light accompanying a white dwarf explosion.Zwicky Transient Facility composite image of SN2019yvq (blue dot) in the host galaxy
NGC 4441 (large yellow galaxy), which is nearly 140 million light-years away from
Earth. SN 2019yvq exhibited a rarely observed ultraviolet flash in the days after the
star exploded. Credit: ZTF/A A. Miller (Northwestern) and D. Goldstein (Caltech)
An extremely rare type of supernova, the event is poised to offer insights into several long-standing mysteries, including what causes white dwarfs to explode, how dark energy accelerates the cosmos and how the universe creates heavy metals, such as iron. ...
Using the Zwicky Transient Facility in California, researchers first spotted the peculiar supernova in December 2019 -- just a day after it exploded. The event, dubbed SN2019yvq, occurred in a relatively nearby galaxy located 140 million light-years from Earth, very close to tail of the dragon-shaped Draco constellation.
Within hours, astrophysicists used NASA’s Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory to study the phenomenon in ultraviolet and X-ray wavelengths. They immediately classified SN2019yvq as a Type Ia (pronounced “one-A”) supernova, a fairly frequent event that occurs when a white dwarf explodes. ...
The rare flash, which lasted for a couple days, indicates that something inside or nearby the white dwarf was incredibly hot. Because white dwarfs become cooler and cooler as they age, the influx of heat puzzled astronomers. ...
The Spectacular Ultraviolet Flash from the Peculiar Type Ia Supernova 2019yvq ~ A. A. Miller et al
- arXiv.org > astro-ph > arXiv:2005.05972 > 12 May 2020 (v1), 07 Jul 2020 (v2)