National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

Subaru Telescope Reveals 3D Structure of Supernovae

| Science

A research group used the Subaru Telescope to conduct observations that revealed a clumpy 3D structure of supernovae. This finding supports a clumpy 3D scenario of supernovae explosions rather than the widely accepted bipolar explosion scenario. It advances our understanding of how supernovae explode, a process that has remained a persistent mystery.

Figure 1
Figure 1: Schematic drawing of the 3D structure (left) and the image of SN 2009mi (right) captured with FOCAS on the Subaru Telescope. This supernova was discovered in the galaxy IC 2151 (in the direction of the constellation Lepas, about 100 million light years away) by Berto Monard in South Africa.
Figure 2
Figure 2: Schematic drawing of the polarization patterns. If a supernova has a clumpy geometry, the polarization has various angles (left), but if it has a bipolar geometry, the polarization has a single angle (right).
Figure 3
Figure 3: Observed polarization around a calcium absorption line of SN 2009jf as a function of velocity caused by expanding motion (Doppler velocity). It shows that the polarization angle changes with wavelength. (Credit: NAOJ)