“New results reveal the origin of some important explosions used to measure cosmic expansion. Chandra data suggest that main trigger for so-called Type Ia supernovas in some galaxies is the merger of two white dwarfs. Scientists used Chandra to study six elliptical galaxies, and further studies on more distant spiral galaxies is needed.
This composite image of M31 (also known as the Andromeda galaxy) shows X-ray data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory in gold, optical data from the Digitized Sky Survey in light blue and infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope in red. The Chandra data covers only the central region of M31 as shown in the inset box for the image.
New results show that the Chandra image would be about 40 times brighter than observed if Type Ia supernova in the bulge of this galaxy were triggered by material from a normal star falling onto a white dwarf star. This implies that the merger of two white dwarfs is the main trigger for Type Ia supernovas for the area observed by Chandra. Similar results for five elliptical galaxies were found.”
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