noaoann10001 — Announcement
Runaway anti-matter production makes for a spectacular stellar explosion
4 January 2010
University of Notre Dame astronomer Peter Garnavich and a team of collaborators used the NSF’s 4-m Blanco telescope in Cerro Tololo, Chile to discover a distant star that exploded when its center became so hot that matter and anti-matter particle pairs were created. The star, dubbed Y-155, began its life around 200 times the mass of the sun but probably became “pair-unstable” and triggered a runaway thermonuclear reaction that made it visible nearly halfway across the universe.
Garnavich and his collaborators discovered the exploding star during the ESSENCE supernova search, a six-year NOAO Survey Program, that identified more than 200 weaker stellar explosions.