Supernovae - version three

18 Jul 2010 July 16th ... Casey Kazan has been upsetting the readers at Daily Galaxy newsletter once again. He, or she, is being accused of tabloid headlines, and maybe they are right - but it draws the punters. Robotic telescopes have turned astronomers attentions towards exploding stars that seem to indicate unusual physics are taking place. The problem may lie in the theoretical modelling of what is taking place - or the assumption supernovae occur when massive stars collapse, or thermonucleur detonations on the surface of white dwarfs composed mainly of carbon and oxygen shatter them.

The supernovae in question appears to be a white dwarf but is devoid of carbon and oxygen, it is thought, and should not go bang in quite the way it did. Instead, it is rich in helium - which is puzzling astronomers and astrophysicists. Most heavy elements are believed to be created in stars and are spread by supernovae events, and the brightness of these explosions is used to estimate the speed the universe is accelerating. The problem now is that too many supernovae are being discovered by automatic imaging telescopes and they don't all conform to the consensus model. It is possible some of them are governed by a different physical mechanism. They may of course just be variations on a standard theme - but they can't be ignored. They have to be explained. However, this third type of supernova does explain the abundance of calcium in galaxies and in life on earth as well as the concentration of positrons in the centre of galaxies. Positrons may be the result of decay of radioactive titanium-44. The most popular explanation for positrons is the decay of putative dark matter at the core of galaxies - but if dark matter does not exist they are just as likely accounted for by this new kind of supernovae category.