Supernovae

Category archives for Supernovae

Where do Type Ia Supernovae come from?

“You have to have a canon so the next generation can come along and explode it.” -Henry Louis Gates When it comes to stars, their fates are very well known. Every single star that’s massive enough to fuse hydrogen into helium in its core will someday run out of fuel and die. The very brightest…

Messier Monday: The Crab Nebula, M1

“This nebula had such a resemblance to a comet in its form and brightness that I endeavored to find others, so that astronomers would not confuse these same nebulae with comets just beginning to shine.” -Charles Messier Let’s take a journey back in time to when our known Universe was a lot smaller. The only…

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people…

The Power of Admitting “I’m Wrong”

“Truth is mighty and will prevail. There is nothing wrong with this, except that it ain’t so.” -Mark Twain “It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.” -Richard Feynman Every day that you set forth in the world is a…

When supernovae get too big!

“You cannot, in human experience, rush into the light. You have to go through the twilight into the broadening day before the noon comes and the full sun is upon the landscape.” -Woodrow Wilson Without a doubt, one of the most spectacular light shows of the cosmos happens when stars burn out — reaching the…

“When I had satisfied myself that no star of that kind had ever shone before, I was led into such perplexity by the unbelievability of the thing that I began to doubt the faith of my own eyes.” -Tycho Brahe When stars reach the end of their lives, there are many possible fates that they…

“Not explaining science seems to me perverse. When you’re in love, you want to tell the world.” -Carl Sagan Nothing lasts forever in this Universe, not even the seemingly timeless stars in the sky. At any moment, any one of the brilliant, twinkling points of light from across the galaxy could run out of fuel,…

Our Galaxy’s Next Supernova

“The diversity of the phenomena of nature is so great, and the treasures hidden in the heavens so rich, precisely in order that the human mind shall never be lacking in fresh nourishment.” -Johannes Kepler So said the man who, in 1604, discovered the supernova that was the last to be seen, visually, within our…

A History of our Galaxy’s Fireworks!

“When I had satisfied myself that no star of that kind had ever shone before, I was led into such perplexity by the unbelievability of the thing that I began to doubt the faith of my own eyes.” -Tycho Brahe When we look out at galaxies throughout the Universe, we find that every so often…

Did this Supernova Leave Nothing Behind?

“Nothing leads the scientist so astray as a premature truth.” -Jean Rostand One of the most awesome events, literally, that happens in this Universe is when stars — giant nuclear furnaces like our Sun — die in the most energetic way possible: a supernova. Video credit: Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie (Ors Hunor Detre, Oliver Krause), via…