Nav: Home

Stars exploding as supernovae lose their mass to companion stars during their lives

March 07, 2019

Stars over eight times more massive than the Sun end their lives in supernovae explosions. The composition of the star influences what happens during the explosion.

A considerable number of massive stars have a close companion star. Led by researchers at Kyoto University, a team of international researchers observed that some stars exploding as supernovae may release part of their hydrogen layers to their companion stars before the explosion.

"In a binary star system, the star can interact with the companion during its evolution. When a massive star evolves, it swells to become a red supergiant star, and the presence of a companion star may disrupt the outer layers of this supergiant star, which is rich in hydrogen. Therefore, binary interaction may remove the hydrogen layer of the evolved star either partially or completely," says Postdoctoral Researcher Hanindyo Kuncarayakti from the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Turku in Finland and the Finnish Centre for Astronomy with ESO. Kuncarayakti is a member of the researcher team that made the observations.

As the star has released a significant part of its hydrogen layer due to the close companion star, its explosion can be observed as a type Ib or IIb supernova.

A star more massive explodes as a type Ic supernova after having lost its helium layer, too, due to the so-called stellar winds. Stellar winds are massive streams of energetic particles from the surface of the star that may remove the helium layer below the hydrogen layer.

"However, the companion star does not have a significant role in what happens to the exploding star's helium layer. Instead, stellar winds play a key role in the process as their intensity is dependent on the star's own initial mass. According to theoretical models and our observations, the effects of stellar winds on the mass loss of the exploding star are significant only for stars above a certain mass range," says Kuncarayakti.

The research group's observations show that the so-called hybrid mechanism is a potential model in describing the evolution of massive stars. The hybrid mechanism indicates that during its lifespan, the star may gradually lose part of its mass both to its companion star as a result of interaction as well as due to stellar winds.

"By observing stars dying as supernovae and the phenomena within, we can improve our understanding on massive star evolution. However, our understanding of massive star evolution is still far from complete," states Professor Seppo Mattila from the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Turku.
-end-
The study was published in the esteemed journal Nature Astronomy: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41550-019-0710-6

More information: Postdoctoral Researcher Hanindyo Kuncarayakti, tel. +358 50 412 5819, hankun@utu.fi, University of Turku, Finland

University of Turku

Related Evolution Articles:

Artificial evolution of an industry
A research team has taken a deep dive into the newly emerging domain of 'forward-looking' business strategies that show firms have far more ability to actively influence the future of their markets than once thought.
Paleontology: Experiments in evolution
A new find from Patagonia sheds light on the evolution of large predatory dinosaurs.
A window into evolution
The C4 cycle supercharges photosynthesis and evolved independently more than 62 times.
Is evolution predictable?
An international team of scientists working with Heliconius butterflies at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama was faced with a mystery: how do pairs of unrelated butterflies from Peru to Costa Rica evolve nearly the same wing-color patterns over and over again?
Predicting evolution
A new method of 're-barcoding' DNA allows scientists to track rapid evolution in yeast.
Insect evolution: Insect evolution
Scientists at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have shown that the incidence of midge and fly larvae in amber is far higher than previously thought.
Evolution of aesthetic dentistry
One of the main goals of dental treatment is to mimic teeth and design smiles in the most natural and aesthetic manner, based on the individual and specific needs of the patient.
An evolution in the understanding of evolution
In an open-source research paper, a UVA Engineering professor and her former Ph.D. student share a new, more accurate method for modeling evolutionary change.
Chemical evolution -- One-pot wonder
Before life, there was RNA: Scientists at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich show how the four different letters of this genetic alphabet could be created from simple precursor molecules on early Earth -- under the same environmental conditions.
Catching evolution in the act
Researchers have produced some of the first evidence that shows that artificial selection and natural selection act on the same genes, a hypothesis predicted by Charles Darwin in 1859.
More Evolution News and Evolution Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Uncharted
There's so much we've yet to explore–from outer space to the deep ocean to our own brains. This hour, Manoush goes on a journey through those uncharted places, led by TED Science Curator David Biello.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#555 Coronavirus
It's everywhere, and it felt disingenuous for us here at Science for the People to avoid it, so here is our episode on Coronavirus. It's ok to give this one a skip if this isn't what you want to listen to right now. Check out the links below for other great podcasts mentioned in the intro. Host Rachelle Saunders gets us up to date on what the Coronavirus is, how it spreads, and what we know and don't know with Dr Jason Kindrachuk, Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology and infectious diseases at the University of Manitoba. And...
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 1: Numbers
In a recent Radiolab group huddle, with coronavirus unraveling around us, the team found themselves grappling with all the numbers connected to COVID-19. Our new found 6 foot bubbles of personal space. Three percent mortality rate (or 1, or 2, or 4). 7,000 cases (now, much much more). So in the wake of that meeting, we reflect on the onslaught of numbers - what they reveal, and what they hide.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.