Event also could give insight into dark energy and the creation of iron
Composite image of SN2019yvq (blue dot) in the host galaxy NGC 4441 (large yellow body in center), which is nearly 140 million light-years from Earth. Credit: ZTF/A. A. Miller (Northwestern University) and D. Goldstein (Caltech). Find image downloads and more in Northwestern’s press kit.
For just the second time ever, astrophysicists have spotted a spectacular flash of ultraviolet (UV) light accompanying a white dwarf explosion.
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.
“The UV flash is telling us something very specific about how this white dwarf exploded,” said Northwestern University astrophysicist Adam Miller, who led the research. “As time passes, the exploded material moves farther away from the source. As that material thins, we can see deeper and deeper. After a year, the material will be so thin that we will see all the way into the center of the explosion.”
At that point, Miller said, his team will know more about how this white dwarf — and all white dwarfs, which are dense remnants of dead stars — explode.
Continue to the full story on Northwestern News by Amanda Morris.
View the paper on The Astrophysical Journal, “The Spectacular Ultraviolet Flash from the Peculiar Type Ia Supernova 2019yvq” by Miller et al
Media Mentions of Northwestern/CIERA
- CNN, “Ultraviolet flash detected by astronomers after ‘peculiar’ white dwarf supernova” by Ashley Strickland
- Mashable, “Astronomers Observe A Spectacular Flash Of Ultraviolet Light From Supernova“
- The Independent, “‘SPECTACULAR’ FLASH OF LIGHT SENT FROM DEEP IN SPACE COULD ILLUMINATE SOME OF THE UNIVERSE’S BIGGEST MYSTERIES, SCIENTISTS SAY” by Adam Smith
- IFL Science, “Incredibly Rare UV Flash Seen When White Dwarf Went Supernova“
- Inverse, “ASTRONOMERS GLIMPSE A RARE FLASHING LIGHT FROM DEEP SPACE“
- Cosmos Magazine, “A Flash of Inspiration“
- International Business Times, “Astronomers Spot White Dwarf Explosion With UV Flash For The Second Time” by Athena Chan
- SyFy, “GRAB YOUR SUNSCREEN, BECAUSE AN INTENSE UV FLASH FROM AN EXPLODED STAR COULD LIGHT UP A COSMIC MYSTERY” by Elizabeth Rayne
- ScienceAlert, “For Only The Second Time, Astronomers Detect a Strange Flash of Light During Supernova” by Peter Dockrill
- The Register, “Mysterious supernova is blasting far-flung galaxy with flashes of UV light – and astroboffins don’t know why” by Katyanna Quach
- TechTimes, “Astronomers Claim UV Light Might Solve Mysterious Stellar Explosions, Including White Dwarf Eruptions” by Giuliano J. de Leon
- Medium, “White Dwarfs Explode in Ultraviolet Light” by James Maynard
- Sputnik News, “Scientists Puzzled By Rare Flash Of Ultraviolet Light Following White Dwarf Explosion“