The cassiopeia A supernova was of type IIb

Oliver Krause, Stephan M. Birkmann, Tomonori Usuda, Takashi Hattori, Miwa Goto, George H. Rieke, Karl A. Misselt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

168 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cassiopeia A is the youngest supernova remnant known in the Milky Way and a unique laboratory for supernova physics. We present an optical spectrum of the Cassiopeia A supernova near maximum brightness, obtained from observations of a scattered light echo more than three centuries after the direct light of the explosion swept past Earth. The spectrum shows that Cassiopeia A was a type IIb supernova and originated from the collapse of the helium core of a red supergiant that had lost most of its hydrogen envelope before exploding. Our finding concludes a long-standing debate on the Cassiopeia A progenitor and provides new insight into supernova physics by linking the properties of the explosion to the wealth of knowledge about its remnant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1195-1197
Number of pages3
JournalScience
Volume320
Issue number5880
DOIs
StatePublished - May 30 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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