2003 Press Releases

Supernova 2001el appeared in September, 2001, in galaxy NGC 1448 in the southern constellation Horologium (the Clock).

Led by Lifan Wang, an astronomer and astrophysicist in Berkeley Lab's Physics Division, scientists have established that Type Ia supernovae do not explode in a perfectly spherical manner. Researchers measured the polarization of light emitted as it brightened and dimmed. This is the first time the intrinsic polarization of a normal Type Ia supernova has been detected.

The researchers were able to show that at peak brightness the exploding star was slightly flattened, with one axis shorter by about 10 percent. By a week later, however, the visible explosion was virtually spherical. See 8/5/06 press release for details.

Image courtesy LBL and ESO.

UCO Press Release Archives

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