superluminous-supernovae-explode-rapidly-and-decayed-slowly

Context: Researchers at the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) Nainital observed SN 2010kd, a super-luminous supernova which ejected an amount of mass as well as Nickel during the explosion.

What are Supernovae?

  • They are a kind of energetic explosions where the core of massive stars (a few times that of mass of our Sun) go to a catastrophic phase of explosion liberating huge amounts of energy.  
  • These events are visible through very far away distances much beyond our own solar system. 
  • Super-luminous supernovae are a special type of stellar explosions having energy output 10 or more times higher than that of standard supernovae. 

Significance of the observations:

  • The scientists said that the larger ejected mass of Super-luminous supernovae SN 2010kd indicates that the related star evolution might be different from other possible progenitors of normal core-collapse supernovae with a different possible underlying physical mechanism responsible for producing such energetic supernovae with large ejected mass and Ni. 
    • The original object in a Supernova explosion is called the progenitor which either collapses to a neutron star or black hole, or it is completely destroyed.
  • It exploded with a larger velocity but decayed shower than other similar supernovae.
  • The observations of the scientists show that parameters like rotation and metallicity play a crucial role in stellar explosions and that there are many more types of possible progenitors existing in diverse environments in their host galaxies than previously known.
    • In Astronomy, metallicity is the abundance of elements present in an object that are heavier than hydrogen or helium.
    • At a given mass and age, a metal-poor star will be slightly warmer. 
    • Above 40 solar masses, metallicity influences how a star will die.
    • Lower metallicity stars will collapse directly to a black hole, while higher metallicity stars undergo a supernova and may leave a neutron star.
  • It indicates that the related star evolution might be different from other possible progenitors of normal core-collapse supernovae with a different possible underlying physical mechanism responsible for producing such energetic supernovae with large ejected mass and Ni.

About stellar explosions

  • The death of a massive star is a spectacular event. 
  • When the star has consumed all of its nuclear fuel, its core collapses. 
  • This leads to a strong blast wave that ejects the stellar envelope at a velocity of about 1–3% of the speed of light, producing a supernova explosion.

Source: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1617430