Image Credits

Why do the explosions of Type Ia supernovae have a more specific mix of elements and more predictable spectrum than those of regular Type II supernovae?

Type II supernovae are explosions of massive stars and the masses of these stars have a very wide range. On the other hand, Type Ia supernovae occur because of accretion onto a white dwarf and the explosion occurs when the mass of the white dwarf exceeds the Chandrasekhar mass (beyond which electron degeneracy pressure can no longer support the star). Hence Type Ia supernovae are explosions of stars with roughly the same mass. Hence, they look similar. If you could get a database of Type II supernovae of stars with same mass and metallicity (which is the amount of elements higher than Helium that the star has) then you might see similar spectra.

This page was last updated June 28, 2015.

About the Author

Jagadheep D. Pandian

Jagadheep D. Pandian

Jagadheep built a new receiver for the Arecibo radio telescope that works between 6 and 8 GHz. He studies 6.7 GHz methanol masers in our Galaxy. These masers occur at sites where massive stars are being born. He got his Ph.D from Cornell in January 2007 and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Insitute for Radio Astronomy in Germany. After that, he worked at the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii as the Submillimeter Postdoctoral Fellow. Jagadheep is currently at the Indian Institute of Space Scence and Technology.

Similar Questions that might Interest You...

Search Our Q&A Archive

Most Popular

Our Reddit AMAs

AMA = Ask Me (Us) Anything