Florida University Research Team Discovers Unique Supernova Explosion

That exploding star -- which is known as "Supernova LSQ14fmg" -- was the faraway object discovered by a 37-member international research team led by Florida State University (FSU) Assistant Professor of Physics Eric Hsiao.

Their research, which was published in The Astrophysical Journal, helped uncover the origins of the group of supernovae this star belongs to.

But the research team knew that the light from a Type Ia supernova rises and falls over the course of weeks, powered by the radioactive decay of nickel produced in the explosion.

Those observations led to their conclusion -- the supernova was exploding inside what had been an asymptotic giant branch (AGB) star on the way to becoming a planetary nebula.

"Seeing how the observation of this interesting event agrees with the theory is very exciting," said Jing Lu, an FSU doctoral candidate and a co-author of the paper.

Soon after the supernova exploded, it impacted a ring of material often seen in planetary nebulae and produced the extra light and the slow brightening observed.

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