Astronomy and Astrophysics

The Gamma-ray Burst and Supernova Connection
Alicia Soderberg, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

The most massive stars in the universe end their lives in bright supernova (SN) explosions that lead to the formation of neutron stars and black holes and impact star formation and galaxy evolution.

In just a minute fraction of these explosions, about 0.1 percent, a narrow jet is launched from the stellar core and punches through the dying star. Traveling at nearly the speed of light, the jet gives rise to short bursts of gamma-ray emission, known as gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). GRBs are the most powerful of all cosmic explosions, outshining all other objects in the Universe for a few seconds to minutes. Yet the critical question on this intimate connection remains unanswered: what essential ingredient enables just 0.1 percent of dying stars to give rise to powerful GRB jets?

I will review the recent progress in our understanding of the GRB-SN connection.

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Astronomy and Astrophysics

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This channel contains session presentations that cover astronomy and astrophysics topics from the Kavli Frontiers of Science symposium series of the National Academy of Sciences.

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