Supernovae are exploding stars. Their sudden appearance in the night sky signals the death of a star. Supernovae are of great importance to our understanding of the universe. For example, they are the source of the heavier elements found in the universe. All oxygen that exists today was probably created inside a massive star and released in a supernova explosion.

Will study supernovae in a new way

"Our research team is going to study supernovae in a new way. All researchers who want to study the death of a star are faced with the challenge that supernova explosions are rare and may only occur once in a hundred years in any given galaxy. Therefore, we need to observe many galaxies. What is unique about our project is that we are also going to survey the same part of the sky frequently. In this way, we will be able to find the supernovae shortly after they explode”, says Jesper Sollerman, professor at the Department of Astronomy and the Oskar Klein Centre at Stockholm University.

Finding and studying the supernovae immediately after the explosion will enable us to learn more about the progenitor stars.

"We are also hoping to discover some astronomical sources not previously noticed. Cosmic explosions of the more short-lived kind that flare up for only a few hours have not been possible to study before. When conducting astronomy experiments that explore new aspects of nature, the most exciting discoveries are often the ones we did not anticipate", says Jesper Sollerman.

The research project is called "Zwicky Transient Facility – A new window to the transient universe". The research team from Stockholm University also includes Claes Fransson and Ariel Gobar from the Oskar Klein Centre.   

Read more about Jesper’s research in the Stockholm University Research Database:

For more information
Jesper Sollerman, professor at the Department of Astronomy and the Oskar Klein Centre, Stockholm University, phone 08-5537 8554, e-mail