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White Dwarf Star System Exceeds Chandrasakar’s Mass Limit!? March 15, 2010

Posted by jcconwell in supernova.
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Type 1a Supernova

Richard Scalzo of Yale, as part of called the Nearby Supernova Factory, a collaboration of American and French physicists, has measured the mass of the white dwarf star that resulted in one of these rare supernovae, called SN 2007if, and found it exceeded the Chandrasekhar limit.

It is thought that white dwarfs could not exceed what is known as the Chandrasekhar limit, a critical mass of about 1.4 times that of the Sun, before exploding in a type Ia supernova. This assumption is crucial in measuring distances to supernovae, and using them as standard candles

Using observations from telescopes in Chile, Hawaii and California, the team was able to measure the mass of the central star, the shell and the envelope individually, providing the first conclusive evidence that the star system itself did indeed surpass the Chandrasekhar limit. They found that the star itself appears to have had a mass of 2.1 times the mass of the Sun (plus or minus 10 percent), putting it well above the limit.

More information: Paper: http://arxiv.org/abs/1003.2217

Provided by Yale University

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