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Uploaded on Sep 15, 2011
Type Ia supernovae are violent stellar explosions whose brightness is used to determine distances in the universe. Observing these objects to billions of light years away has led to the discovery that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate, the foundation for the notion of dark energy. Although all Type Ia supernovae appear to be very similar, astronomers do not know for certain how the explosions take place and whether they all share the same origin. Now, researchers have examined new and detailed observations of 41 of these objects and concluded that there are clear signatures of gas outflows from the supernova ancestors, which do not appear to be white dwarfs.