California Institute of Technology | 2018 Oct 11
The death of a massive star and the birth of a compact neutron star binary
A Caltech-led team of researchers has observed the peculiar death of a massive star that exploded in a surprisingly faint and rapidly fading supernova. These observations suggest that the star has an unseen companion, gravitationally siphoning away the star's mass to leave behind a stripped star that exploded in a quick supernova. The explosion is believed to have resulted in a dead neutron star orbiting around its dense and compact companion, suggesting that, for the first time, scientists have witnessed the birth of a compact neutron star binary system. ...
- The three panels represent moments before, during, and after the faint supernova iPTF14gqr, visible in the middle panel, appeared in the outskirts of a spiral galaxy located 920 million light years away. The massive star that died in the supernova left behind a neutron star in a very tight binary system. These dense stellar remnants will ultimately spiral into each other and merge in a spectacular explosion, giving off gravitational and electromagnetic waves. (Credit: SDSS/Caltech/Keck)
When a massive star—at least eight times the mass of the sun—runs out of fuel to burn in its core, the core collapses inwards upon itself and then rebounds outward in a powerful explosion called a supernova. After the explosion, all of the star's outer layers have been blasted away, leaving behind a dense neutron star—about the size of a small city but containing more mass than the sun. A teaspoon of a neutron star would weigh as much as a mountain.
During a supernova, the dying star blasts away all of the material in its outer layers. Usually, this is a few times the mass of the sun. However, the event that Kasliwal and her colleagues observed, dubbed iPTF 14gqr, ejected matter only one fifth of the mass of the sun. ...
Massive Star's Unusual Death Heralds the Birth of Compact Neutron Star Binary
Carnegie Institution for Science | 2018 Oct 11
Little Supernova is Big Discovery: the Origin of Binary Neutron Stars
National Astronomical Observatory of Japan | 2018 Oct 12
A Hot and Fast Ultra-Stripped Supernova that Likely Formed a Compact Neutron Star Binary ~ Kishalay De et al
- Science 362(6411):201 (12 Oct 2018) DOI: 10.1126/science.aas8693