Research Article

A hot and fast ultra-stripped supernova that likely formed a compact neutron star binary

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Science  12 Oct 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6411, pp. 201-206
DOI: 10.1126/science.aas8693

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Explosive origin of a binary neutron star

Some types of core-collapse supernovae are known to produce a neutron star (NS). A binary NS merger was recently detected from its gravitational wave emission, but it is unclear how such a tight binary system can be formed. De et al. discovered a core-collapse supernova with unusual properties, including the removal of the outer layers of the star before the explosion. They interpret this as the second supernova in an interacting binary system that already contains one NS. Because the explosion probably produced a second NS (rather than a black hole) in a tight orbit, it could be an example of how binary NS systems form.

Science, this issue p. 201


Compact neutron star binary systems are produced from binary massive stars through stellar evolution involving up to two supernova explosions. The final stages in the formation of these systems have not been directly observed. We report the discovery of iPTF 14gqr (SN 2014ft), a type Ic supernova with a fast-evolving light curve indicating an extremely low ejecta mass (≈0.2 solar masses) and low kinetic energy (≈2 × 1050 ergs). Early photometry and spectroscopy reveal evidence of shock cooling of an extended helium-rich envelope, likely ejected in an intense pre-explosion mass-loss episode of the progenitor. Taken together, we interpret iPTF 14gqr as evidence for ultra-stripped supernovae that form neutron stars in compact binary systems.

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