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English: Supernova 2005ke, which was detected in 2005, is a Type Ia supernova, an important "standard candle" explosion used by astronomers to measure distances in the universe. Shown here is the explosion in optical, ultraviolet and X-ray wavelengths. This is the first X-ray image of a Type Ia, and it has provided observational evidence that Type Ia are the explosion of a white dwarf orbiting a red giant star.
|Source||Credit: NASA/Swift/S. Immler|
|Author||Credit: NASA/Swift/S. Immler|
(Reusing this file)
Images produced by NASA are usually free of copyright [...]
An explosion called SN 2005ke is the first Type Ia supernova detected in X-ray wavelengths, and it is much brighter in the ultraviolet than expected. A Type Ia is an explosion of a white dwarf in orbit around either another white dwarf or a red giant star. The dense white dwarf can accumulate gas donated from the companion. When the dwarf reaches the critical mass of 1.4 solar masses, a thermonuclear explosion ensues.
Type Ia are called "standard candles" and are used by astronomers to measure distances in the universe, because each Type Ia shines with a known luminosity. Immler's team says it has the first observational evidence to support one theory about the origin of these supernovae.
Immler's group has found direct evidence in the X-ray and ultraviolet light of SN 2005ke that a white dwarf, now obliterated, was indeed orbiting a red giant. The scientists detected shock waves from the explosion ramming into gas from a red giant and found no evidence of a second white dwarf. This observation may help astronomers understand the birthplaces and evolution of these supernovae, so crucial to the field of cosmology and dark energy.
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