‘Chameleon’ Supernova Challenges Notions About How Stars Evolve

I found a cool article on space.com titled, ‘Chameleon’ Supernova Challenges Notions About How Stars Evolve, by Samantha Mathewson.  A study published in The Astrophysical Journal, astronomers take a look at a supernova named SN 2014C, that released a lot of hydrogen and heavier elements late in its life before it exploded. This chameleon supernova is in a spiral galaxy just about 36 million to 46 million light-years from Earth and it may represent a new way of how massive stars deliver elements created in their cores to the rest of the universe. The material released into the universe after a massive star explodes, serves as the building blocks of Earth and other planets in our solar system. This article was an interesting read and I thought it was cool that it mentioned that a one of the hypothesis for SN 2014C weird behavior is that the star was part of a binary system and did not die alone. As we learned in our lecture tutorial books main sequence stars that can no longer hold nuclear fusion of hydrogen in their cores become red giants. The evolutionary path after the red giant phase depends on it mass. Lower mass stars about eight times less the mass of our sun will eject its outer layers to produce a planetary nebula. The stellar core in the middle of the planetary nebula is a white dwarf. The white dwarf will either blow off the outer layers of accreted material and leave behind the white dwarf unchanged or it will have an uncontrolled fusion reaction that caused the white dwarf to explode as a type la supernova, destroying the white dwarf and leaving behind nothing. In high mass stars about eight times greater the mass of our sun will explode to a type II supernova. The type II supernova will leave behind a neutron star or a black hole if the original star was really massive.

 

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