Type Ia supernovae


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Type Ia supernova
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definition A Type I supernova that presents a singly-ionized silicon (Si II) absorption feature at 6150 Å near peak brightness. Type Ia SNe are believed to result from mass accretion to a carbon-oxygen white dwarf in a close binary system. When the white dwarf mass exceeds the Chandrasekhar limit, the degenerate electron pressure can no longer support the accumulated mass and the star collapses in a thermonuclear explosion producing a supernova. The peak luminosity of SNe Ia is set by the radioactive decay chain, and the observed photometric correlation between the peak luminosity and the time-scale over which the light curve decays from its maximum is understood physically as having both the luminosity and opacity being set by the mass of Nickel-56 synthesized in the explosion. Type Ia supernovae occur in all types of galaxies. Type Ia SNe are used as standard candles in determining cosmological distances, after normalizing their light curves with the Phillips relation.
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