Scientists have been trying to uncover the Secrets of Ia supernovae for a decade


The supernova jPTE 14atg, a key discovery into the workings of supernova, was discovered with the aid of automated software developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

“Over the past decade, rapid advances in imaging and computing technology have completely transformed time-domain astronomy,”  according to Przemek Wozniak, principal investigator of a project—a Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) project—that provides funding for the Laboratory’s part of the research. “The Intermediate Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF) is a leader among the new breed of data-intensive sky monitoring surveys that seek to discover and understand transient events of astrophysical origin.”

The California Institute of technology is leading an international consortium partnered with the Laboratory for the jPTE project.

Type Ia supernovae are supernova that occur in binary systems—systems where two starts orbit each other—where one of the stars is a white dwarf. These systems are rare, and the observation of this system has helped scientist better understand the physics of an Ia supernova.

“The challenge in this work is to select transients from the torrent of images and quickly identify the ones that deserve further attention,” according to Wozniak. “Too many transients compete for scarce resources such as observing time on large telescopes. We are developing new machine learning technology that will allow us to tackle these big data challenges.”

“This excess UV emission is strong evidence that the supernova is interacting with its surrounding medium, such as an exploding white dwarf colliding with its companion star in the so-called single degenerate scenario,” –Computational scientist at Los Alamos and leader of the Laboratory’s supernova simulation and modeling group, Chris Fryer.




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