PerspectiveAstronomy

More Supernova Surprises

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Science  24 Sep 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5999, pp. 1604-1605
DOI: 10.1126/science.1196301

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Summary

The explosions produced when the central region of a massive star ceases nuclear burning and collapses to a neutron star (a core-collapse supernova) have stretched and motivated research that has expanded our knowledge of astrophysics. The brightest such event in modern times was the explosion of the supernova SN1987A on 23 February 1987. As SN1987A evolves from supernova to supernova remnant (SNR) and interacts with its external medium, it continues to reveal new insights into unexplored areas of physics. On page 1624 of this issue, France et al. (1) discuss how ultraviolet spectroscopy can provide new insights into the nature of shock waves associated with SN1987A.