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Journal Article

The Cassiopeia A Supernova Was of Type IIb

Oliver Krause, Stephan M. Birkmann, Tomonori Usuda, Takashi Hattori, Miwa Goto, George H. Rieke and Karl A. Misselt
Science
New Series, Vol. 320, No. 5880 (May 30, 2008), pp. 1195-1197
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20054836
Page Count: 3
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The Cassiopeia A Supernova Was of Type IIb
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Abstract

Cassiopeia A is the youngest supernova remnant known in the Milky Way and a unique laboratory for supernova physics. We present an optical spectrum of the Cassiopeia A supernova near maximum brightness, obtained from observations of a scattered light echo more than three centuries after the direct light of the explosion swept past Earth. The spectrum shows that Cassipeia A was a type IIB supernova and originated from the collapse of the helium core of a red supergiant that had lost most of its hydrogen envelope before exploding. Our finding concludes a long-standing debate on the Cassiopeia A progenitor and provides new insight supernova physics by linking the properties of the explosion to the wealth of knowledge about its remnant.

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