Supernova SN 2018byg triggered by a helium-shell double detonation, study finds | 1/14/2019 | Staff
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Astronomers have recently conducted photometric and spectroscopic observations of SN 2018byg, a peculiar Type Ia supernova. Results of these observations, presented in a paper published January 3 on the arXiv pre-print server, suggest that this cosmic explosion was caused by double detonation of a massive helium shell.

Supernovae (SNe) are energetic stellar explosions basically classified as Type I and Type II, depending on their light curves and nature of their spectra. Type I SNe are divided into three subclasses: Ia, Ib and Ic. Type Ia SNe are believed to be the result of the explosion of a carbon-oxygen white dwarf in a binary as it goes over the so-called Chandrasehkar limit (1.4 solar masses), either due to accretion from a donor or mergers.

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First spotted on May 4, 2018, SN 2018byg (also known as ZTF 18aaqeasu or ATLAS 18pqq) is one of many interesting Type Ia SNe. A team of astronomers led by Kishalay De of California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has carried out an observational campaign of this supernova using various ground-based telescopes and spacecraft. These observations provided important insights on the origin of this stellar explosion.

"In this paper, we present observations of ZTF 18aaqeasu, a peculiar Type I SN that exhibits remarkable similarities to expected signatures of a He-shell double detonation on a white dwarf," the researchers wrote in the paper.

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As noted in the study, De and colleagues assume that in the case of SN 2018byg, the explosion was most likely triggered by a detonation of a...
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