Supernovae are exploding stars: after as little as ten million years of preparation, a single star can shine as brightly as 10 billion suns for a few weeks. Supernovae come in two broad classes - one that provides a 'custom yardstick' to measure the distances to individual galaxies and another that offers standard candles that can be detected a third of the way across the universe. Techniques are being developed to use these stellar beacons to gage the age of the Universe and the geometry of space. Definitive answers are not in yet, but they are within our grasp and supernovae may soon become a central element of the cosmological quest.
Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society
- Pub Date:
- September 1991
- Stellar Evolution;
- Stellar Luminosity;