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.
- Pub Date:
- August 2012
- Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
- This manuscript has been accepted for publication in Science (to appear August 24). This version has not undergone final editing. Please refer to the complete version of record at http://www.sciencemag.org/. The manuscript may not be reproduced or used in any manner that does not fall within the fair use provisions of the Copyright Act without the prior, written permission of AAAS