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These super AGB stars may form the majority of core collapse supernovae, although less luminous and so less commonly observed than those from more massive progenitors.
The rate of mass loss for luminous stars depends on the metallicity and luminosity. At low metallicity, all stars will reach core collapse with a hydrogen envelope but sufficiently massive stars collapse directly to a black hole without producing a visible supernova. Stars with an initial mass up to about 90 times the sun, or a little less at high metallicity, are expected to result in a Type II-P supernova which is the most commonly observed type.
Type Ib and Ic[ edit ] Main article: Binary models provide a better match for the observed supernovae, with the proviso that no suitable binary helium stars have ever been observed. Type Ib supernovae are the more common and result from Wolf—Rayet stars of Type WC which still have helium in their atmospheres. For a narrow range of masses, stars evolve further before reaching core collapse to become WO stars with very little helium remaining and these are the progenitors of Type Ic supernovae.
The jets would also transfer energy into the expanding outer shell, producing a super-luminous supernova. In the most extreme cases, ultra-stripped supernovae can occur in naked metal cores, barely above the Chandrasekhar mass limit.
SN 2005ek  might be an observational example of an ultra-stripped supernova, giving rise to a relatively dim and fast decaying light curve. The nature of ultra-stripped supernovae can be both iron core-collapse and electron capture supernovae, depending on the mass of the collapsing core. Failed supernova The core collapse of some massive stars may not result in a visible supernova. The main model for this is a sufficiently massive core that the kinetic energy is insufficient to reverse the infall of the outer layers onto a black hole.
These events are difficult to detect, but large surveys have detected possible candidates. Although the energy that disrupts each type of supernovae is delivered promptly, the light curves are mostly dominated by subsequent radioactive heating of the rapidly expanding ejecta. Some have considered rotational energy from the central pulsar.
The ejecta gases would dim quickly without some energy input to keep it hot. The intensely radioactive nature of the ejecta gases, which is now known to be correct for most supernovae, was first calculated on sound nucleosynthesis grounds in the late 1960s.
Although the luminous emission consists of optical photons, it is the radioactive power absorbed by the ejected gases that keeps the remnant hot enough to radiate light. The radioactive decay of 56 Ni through its daughters 56 Co to 56 Fe produces gamma-ray photons , primarily of 847keV and 1238keV, that are absorbed and dominate the heating and thus the luminosity of the ejecta at intermediate times several weeks to late times several months.
Later measurements by space gamma-ray telescopes of the small fraction of the 56Co and 57Co gamma rays that escaped the SN 1987A remnant without absorption confirmed earlier predictions that those two radioactive nuclei were the power sources. The light curves can be significantly different at other wavelengths. For example, at ultraviolet wavelengths there is an early extremely luminous peak lasting only a few hours corresponding to the breakout of the shock launched by the initial event, but that breakout is hardly detectable optically.
Their optical energy output is driven by radioactive decay of ejected nickel-56 half life 6 days , which then decays to radioactive cobalt-56 half life 77 days. These radioisotopes excite the surrounding material to incandescence. Studies of cosmology today rely on 56 Ni radioactivity providing the energy for the optical brightness of supernovae of Type Ia, which are the "standard candles" of cosmology but whose diagnostic 847keV and 1238keV gamma rays were first detected only in 2014.
The light curve continues to decline in the B band while it may show a small shoulder in the visual at about 40 days, but this is only a hint of a secondary maximum that occurs in the infra-red as certain ionised heavy elements recombine to produce infra-red radiation and the ejecta become transparent to it. The visual light curve continues to decline at a rate slightly greater than the decay rate of the radioactive cobalt which has the longer half life and controls the later curve , because the ejected material becomes more diffuse and less able to convert the high energy radiation into visual radiation.
After several months, the light curve changes its decline rate again as positron emission becomes dominant from the remaining cobalt-56, although this portion of the light curve has been little-studied. The visual light output is again due to radioactive decay being converted into visual radiation, but there is a much lower mass of the created nickel-56. The most luminous Type Ic supernovae are referred to as hypernovae and tend to have broadened light curves in addition to the increased peak luminosity.
The source of the extra energy is thought to be relativistic jets driven by the formation of a rotating black hole, which also produce gamma-ray bursts. The visual light output is dominated by kinetic energy rather than radioactive decay for several months, due primarily to the existence of hydrogen in the ejecta from the atmosphere of the supergiant progenitor star. In the initial destruction this hydrogen becomes heated and ionised.
Their light curves are generally very broad and extended, occasionally also extremely luminous and referred to as a superluminous supernova. These light curves are produced by the highly efficient conversion of kinetic energy of the ejecta into electromagnetic radiation by interaction with the dense shell of material. This only occurs when the material is sufficiently dense and compact, indicating that it has been produced by the progenitor star itself only shortly before the supernova occurs.
Large numbers of supernovae have been catalogued and classified to provide distance candles and test models. Average characteristics vary somewhat with distance and type of host galaxy, but can broadly be specified for each supernova type. Physical properties of supernovae by type  .