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

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156 Scopus citations


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
Issue number5880
StatePublished - May 30 2008

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    Krause, O., Birkmann, S. M., Usuda, T., Hattori, T., Goto, M., Rieke, G. H., & Misselt, K. A. (2008). The cassiopeia A supernova was of type IIb. Science, 320(5880), 1195-1197.