Earth and Space

Icy supernovae

Stories from Physics for 11-14 14-16 IOP RESOURCES

The effects of supernovae can be detected in Antarctic ice. Ionising radiation released from supernovae can form nitrate ions when it strikes the atmosphere, which are then detectable in ice-cores. The Vela pulsar is the remnant of a supernova which occurred around 11,000 - 12,000 years ago. Researchers from McGill and Dortmund Universities have used data from 20 year-old Antarctic ice core samples to estimate the supernova occurred in a star 15 times the mass of the Sun.


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