Supernovae

Category archives for Supernovae

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…

The Heavy Metal Universe!

“They credited us with the birth of that sort of heavy metal thing. Well, if that’s the case, there should be an immediate abortion.” -Ginger Baker As hard as it may be to believe, take a look outside. I don’t mean a glance, I mean to take a real look. At all the things there…

Galaxies near the speed of light!

“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” -Albert Einstein Now that you know how many galaxies are in our expanding Universe, you might be wondering about their speeds. After all, since the Universe is expanding, that means that the farther away a galaxy is from us, the faster it’s…

“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.” -Edgar Allen Poe Earlier this week, the Nobel Prize in Physics was announced for the discovery that the Universe is not only expanding, but that this expansion is accelerating! What does an accelerated expansion…

Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice. From what I’ve tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate To say that for destruction ice Is also great And would suffice. -Robert Frost Ever since…

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself–and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you’ve not fooled yourself, it’s easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that.” -Richard Feynman Last week, a…

Going Nuclear: How Stars Die

“After all, the universe required ten billion years of evolution before life was even possible; the evolution of the stars and the evolving of new chemical elements in the nuclear furnaces of the stars were indispensable prerequisites for the generation of life.” -John Polkinghorne There are close to a whopping 1028 atoms in your body.…

What makes a supernova so super, anyway?

Daughter, age 7: “Daddy, will the Earth always go around the Sun forever?” Louis CK: “Well no, at some point the Sun is going to explode.” Daughter: (starts crying) Louis CK: “Oh honey, this is not going to happen until you and everyone you know has been dead for a very long time.” Daughter: (continues…