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Quark stars: How can a supernova explode twice?

作者:云缘庶    发布时间:2019-03-15 08:05:01    

By Anil Ananthaswamy (Image: Matt Murphy) ON 22 September last year, the website of The Astronomer’s Telegram alerted researchers to a supernova explosion in a spiral galaxy about 84 million light years away. There was just one problem. The same object, SN 2009ip, had blown up in a similarly spectacular fashion just weeks earlier. Such stars shouldn’t go supernova twice, let alone in quick succession. The thing was, it wasn’t the only one, the next year another supernova, SN 2010mc, did the same. One of the few people not to be bamboozled was Rachid Ouyed. “When I looked at those explosions, they were talking to me right away,” he says. Ouyed, an astrophysicist at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, thinks that these double explosions are not the signature of a supernova, but something stranger. They may mark the violent birth of a quark star, a cosmic oddity that has only existed so far in the imaginations and equations of a few physicists. If so they would be the strongest hints yet that these celestial creatures exist in the cosmic wild. The implications would be enormous. These stars would take pride of place alongside the other heavenly heavyweights: neutron stars and black holes. They could help solve some puzzling mysteries related to gamma-ray bursts and the formation of the heftiest elements in the universe. Back on Earth,

 

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