The Classification of Supernovae


Supernovae are explosions of stars at the end of their life cycle and occur due to two physical causes:

  1. Thermonuclear Runaway
  2. Core-Collapse

A famous astronomer and physicist named Rudolph Minkowski classified supernovae into two types according to their spectra, those without hydrogen are type 1 and those with hydrogen are type 2.

As the years progressed further sub-classes emerged for each type.

Supernovae (SNe) 1a arise from a carbon/oxygen white dwarfs that reach Chandrasekhar's Mass. White dwarfs experience dynamical instabilities that cause temperatures to rise dramatically in the core of the star. The rise in temperature causes thermonuclear runaway making the ignition of carbon and subsequently carbon/oxygen burning to explode the white dwarf.

Supernovae II/1bc are due to the core-collapse of massive stars. The core collapses due to the numerous dynamical instabilties that occur during nuclear reaction processes, contraction of the core, and the strong force.

If you would like a list of observable SNe I suggest you visit Rochestors's astronomy page.
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HI THERE: Assignment 3