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Science. 2008 May 30;320(5880):1195-7. doi: 10.1126/science.1155788.

The Cassiopeia A supernova was of type IIb.

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1
Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Königstuhl 17, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany. krause@mpia.de

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 Cassiopeia 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 into supernova physics by linking the properties of the explosion to the wealth of knowledge about its remnant.

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PMID:
18511684
DOI:
10.1126/science.1155788
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