What Are Unnovae, or Failed Supernovas?

Updated on March 10, 2018
1701TheOriginal profile image

Leonard Kelley holds a bachelor's in physics with a minor in mathematics. He loves the academic world and strives to constantly explore it.

Source

Missing Supernova

Most supermassive stars end in a supernova, or a violent eruption of energy that results in a neutron star or a black hole, depending on the mass. If we get lucky, we can spot a supernova and then backtrack through image catalogues to see the star it came from. Thus far, we have found supernova for all types of masses, but nothing above 17 solar masses. Why are we not seeing them? After all, they should have a great potential for a large visual brightening. As It turns out, they might be so large that the explosion creates a black hole which eats up material too fast for it to radiate back to us. Normally, neutrinos in the core build up and are released as the black hole forms, but with failed supernova the singularity is powerful enough to eat this initial vanguard, removing the main force behind the supernova blast. We would call such an event a failed supernova, as you may imagine. They would be more efficient than a typical supernova because less material would be blown away and instead would be consumed by the newly-formed black hole, leading to more massive candidates. So how will be able to find these missing supernovas? By looking at archived images and looking for red supergiants that are now missing, we would have a possible failed supernova candidate (Billings 26, Howell, Cain).

Source

The Hunt

Chris Kochanek and his team at Ohio State University are on such a hunt. In 2014, using the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory in Arizona, Kochanek and company along with Jill Gerke and Kris Stanek found a possible failed supernova candidate in NGC 6946: a red supergiant named N6946-BH1. It is about 25 solar masses and got 1 million times brighter than the sun in from March to May of 2009 (possibly from gravitational energy), then…disappeared except for some faint infrared signals in the general vicinity No dust cover can account for the data seen, but a newly formed accretion disc from a black hole can. A separate team led by Thomas Reynolds, Morgan Fraser, and Gerard Gilmore (all a part of the University of Cambridge) looked at archived Hubble data of NGC 3021 and found another possible failed supernova. However, it should be noted that such candidates may just be stars that are now obscured by dust or have a large surface fluctuation, but X-ray data that can then be compared to black holes should reveal if they are a player here. Initial projections based on candidates seen indicate that as much as 10 to 30 percent of massive stars end their life as a failed supernova, which matches the expected missing number astronomers were looking for. Stay tuned (Billings 27, Carpineti, Crockett, Myers, Mcrae).

Another avenue for potentially detecting these failed supernovas would be neutrino bursts. Normally given off by standard supernova, these bursts would have a tell-tale signature unique to a failed scenario and depending on the size of the detector could have 1 to 2 detected a century with a maximum distance of 13 million light years away. This is because the flux, or particle hits per unit area, decreases as the objects distance increases and after a certain distance will become indistinguishable from background noise. Another difficulty would be that the burst duration is expected to be less than a second long but the energy signature should fit firmly in the 56 MeV area (Voisey).

Source

Works Cited

Billings, Lee. “Gone Without a Bang.” Scientific American Nov. 2015: 26-7. Print.

Cain, Fraiser. “How Do Supernovae Fail?” universetoday.com. Universe Today, 12 Oct. 2016. Web. 05 Oct. 2017.

Carpineti, Alfredo. “Failed Supernova Forms Black Hole Without Explosion.” Iflscience.com. IFL Science, 14 Sept. 2016. Web. 10 Jan. 2017.

Crockett, Christopher. “Vanished Star May Be First Known Failed Supernova.” Sciencenews.org. Society for Science & The Public, 20 Sept. 2016. Web. 10 Jan. 2017.

Howell, Elizabeth. “Supernova Fail: Giant Dying Star Collapses Straight into Black Hole.” Space.com. Purch, 26 May 2017. Web. 02 Oct. 2017.

Mcrae, Mike. “This Failed Supernova Might Have Given Us Our First Look at The Birth of a Black Hole.” Sciencealert.com. 27 May 2017. Web. 04 Oct. 2017.

Myers, Eugene. “This star was so massive it ate itself before it could go supernova.” Astronomy.com. Kalmbach Publishing Co., 27 Sept. 2016. Web. 02 Oct. 2017.

Voisey, Jon. “Finding the Failed Supernova.” Universetoday.com. Universe Today, 24 Dec. 2015, Web. 11 Jan. 2017.

© 2018 Leonard Kelley

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, owlcation.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://owlcation.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)