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A quadruple star system was recently observed at the University of Canterbury Mt. The results of a study published in Nature Astronomy today show that John Observatory could represent a new channel by which thermonuclear supernova explosions can occur in the universe.

The double-binary star system HD74438 was discovered in the Vela constellation using the Gaia-ESO Survey.

The stars in the quadruple star system are tracked by follow-up observations of HD 74438. Observations were taken at the University of Canterbury Mt. The Southern African Large Telescope is located in South Africa.

The stellar quadruple is made up of four stars, two of which are short-period and one of which is a long-period.

The quadruple system is a member of the young open star cluster IC 2391, which is 43 million years old and has the shortest outer orbital period of any quadruple system.

The authors of the Nature Astronomy paper have shown that the outer system's effects on the inner system are causing it to become more eccentric. State-of-the art simulations of this system show that there can be one or multiple merger events that can lead to the creation of evolved dead stars with mass just below the Chandrasekhar limit. White dwarf stars can produce a thermonuclear explosion if mass transfer or mergers happen.

The Director of the University of Canterbury Mt is involved in the study. The first UC student to receive a doctorate in astronomy, Dr. C. C. Worley, and the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge University, U.K., are also alumni.

Associate Professor Pollard says high-precision and high-resolution spectroscopic observations were taken with the Hercules spectrograph on the 1.0m McLellan Telescope. John Observatory is located in Tekapo.

A star like our sun will end its life as a small dense dead star known as a white dwarf, and the mass of white dwarfs cannot go above the so-called Chandrasekhar limit. 70% to 85% of thermonuclear supernovae are thought to be the result of the explosion of white dwarfs. White dwarf stars can explode as a thermonuclear supernova if mass transfer or mergers happen.

Associate Professor Pollard says that the evolution of stellar quadruples such as HD 74438 represents a new promising channel to form thermonuclear supernova explosions in the Universe.

The recent detection of the ripples in the waves caused by the merging of two stars is a result of the role thatbinary stars play in a large range of astrophysical events. We can derive fundamental stellar parameters with a better accuracy if we use a pair of stars. They are the gems that various astrophysics topics rely on.

A few percent of all multiple systems is represented by sceltan quadruples. Mass transfer and collisions lead to mergers that are possible progenitors of thermonuclear supernovae. The evolution of the progenitors of such supernova explosions are still debated, but the standard candles for fixing the Universe distance scale are represented by these supernovae.

The paper "A spectroscopic quadruple as a possible progenitor of sub-Chandrasekhar type Ia supernovae" has been published in Nature Astronomy.

More information: Thibault Merle et al, A spectroscopic quadruple as a possible progenitor of sub-Chandrasekhar type Ia supernovae, Nature Astronomy (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41550-022-01664-5 Journal information: Nature Astronomy Citation: Astronomers spot quadruple stars that may spark supernova explosions (2022, May 13) retrieved 13 May 2022 from This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.