Luminous Supernovae

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Science  24 Aug 2012:
Vol. 337, Issue 6097, pp. 927-932
DOI: 10.1126/science.1203601

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Supernovae, the luminous explosions of stars, have been observed since antiquity. However, various examples of superluminous supernovae (SLSNe; luminosities >7 × 1043 ergs per second) have only recently been documented. From the accumulated evidence, SLSNe can be classified as radioactively powered (SLSN-R), hydrogen-rich (SLSN-II), and hydrogen-poor (SLSN-I, the most luminous class). The SLSN-II and SLSN-I classes are more common, whereas the SLSN-R class is better understood. The physical origins of the extreme luminosity emitted by SLSNe are a focus of current research.

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