Is a kilonova bigger than a supernova?

  • My question is straight forward. Is a kilonova bigger than a supernova?


    How does a kilonova differ from a nova in terms of...

    • luminosity

    • duration

    • energy

    • volume of space occupied by the ejecta

    • speed of the ejecta

    • other metrics?

    How would you define "bigger"? More luminous? More energetic? Longer-lasting?

    Thanks, HDE226868! I think I get it. Your comment, the answer PeterErwin provided, and the link uhoh provided have given me a picture of what kilonovas are like. I refined the question for the sake of the site... I left out supernovas and "hypernovas" (just learned about the latter today) though maybe that info could go here, too. Or maybe this question is answered well enough already.

    Kilonova sounds a lot like supermoon; mostly journalistic in nature. If you take it literally, it means a thousand times as much of *something*, in this case "nova".

    Wayfaring Stranger -- That is the original intended meaning: roughly 1000 times as much energy as a (classical) nova.

  • Peter Erwin

    Peter Erwin Correct answer

    5 years ago

    Although it's a little tricky to say what "bigger" means in this context, the answer is, in most senses, no.

    A supernova puts out about ten to a hundred times as much energy in the form of light, and hundred or more times as much matter is ejected. (A core-collapse supernova undoubtedly puts out much more energy in the form of neutrinos as well.) What matter is ejected by a kilonova does go out faster (30-60,000 km/s, versus about 10,000 km/s for supernova ejecta).

    On the other hand, a kilonova puts out much more energy in the form of gravitational waves, so they're bigger in that sense.

License under CC-BY-SA with attribution

Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM

Tags used