The Quest for a Supernova Companion

Science  20 Jun 1997:
Vol. 276, Issue 5320, pp. 1813-1814
DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5320.1813

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Pilar Ruiz-Lapuente Some stars end their lives in supernova explosions as they accrete matter from a companion object. At some point, a critical mass is reached, the Chandrasekhar mass, and the star becomes a fusion bomb. But observational evidence about the companion stars in supernovae is lacking. In her Perspective, Ruiz-Lapuente discusses recent efforts to understand how mass is transferred to stars before a supernova explosion and how the nature of the companion object might be revealed.