Dr. Stephen Justham, a researcher at NAOC, was invited to write a News & Views article entitled "Portrait of a doomed star", which appears in the August 7th issue of Nature.
Dr. Justham says that he was honored by the invitation, but that the focus should really be on the discovery by McCully et al. published in the same issue of Nature. The work by Curtis McCully and his colleagues — including the Nobel Prize Laureate Adam Riess — may have identified the progenitor system of supernova 2012Z. This supernova falls within the 2002cx-like subclass of type Ia supernovae, although these events have recently become known as "type Iax" supernovae.
If future observations confirm the result of McCully et al., this would be the first time that the progenitor of any thermonuclear supernova has been definitively detected. It would thus be an extremely important discovery in our understanding of astrophysical explosions. Additional future observations will be necessary to confirm that they truly have detected the progenitor of SN 2012Z, but even the chance that they have done so is exciting.
Link to the News & Views article by Stephen Justham:
Link to the research paper by Curtis McCully et al.:
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