Supernovae

Category archives for Supernovae

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 One of the great things that the Hubble Space Telescope has given us is a…

Dark Energy: Beyond Supernovae (Part 4)

Follow humbly wherever and to whatever abyss Nature leads, or you shall learn nothing. -T.H. Huxley We’ve spent a little bit of time talking about dark energy, including what we think of it, how we first discovered it, and how we knew that there wasn’t just something out there blocking the light. It seems to…

Dark Energy: Where did the Light go? (Part 3)

Though the Sun is gone, I have a light. -Kurt Cobain Last time we visited dark energy, we discussed its initial discovery. This came about from the fact that supernovae observed with a certain redshift (i.e., moving away from us) appear to be systematically fainter than we were able to explain. But we weren’t satisfied…

Dark Energy: Gaining a Foothold (Part 2)

Last time, we talked about the discovery of dark energy. How did it happen? Well, there are certain kinds of Supernovae, type Ia supernovae, that are practically identical to one another all across the Universe. In fact, we had one happen in our own galaxy in 1572; it outshone everything besides the Moon in the…

By the 1990s, we knew an awful lot about the Universe. You can check out what the greatest discoveries were (in my opinion) from the 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. By this point, we understood the origin of the Universe as well as we understand it today, knew about dark matter…

By the 1980s, our view of the Universe was pretty close to what it is today. We had confirmed the Big Bang Theory and even had some understanding of what must’ve caused the Big Bang. There were some mysteries around, such as dark matter, the age of the Universe, and the solar neutrino problem, but…

Making the Elements in the Universe

Earlier this week, I wrote about how the heavier elements in the Universe were made. Specifically, that they are made in stars. These stars then explode in a variety of ways, enriching the Universe with these heavy elements, and allowing us to form glorious things, like our planet! By contrast, the big bang makes light…

There are many great discoveries that happened in the 1930s that changed our view of the Universe. From tiny discoveries (the neutron) to huge ones (Pluto), from theoretical explanations of antimatter to the neutrino to the start of quantum field theory, the 1930s were a great time for making new discoveries. But one man often…

It is done! The longest-running and most famous camera in the world, Hubble’s WFPC2, has been removed and replaced. Scientists will now get to use the Wide-Field Camera 3 (below), and WFPC2 is headed to the Smithsonian. You’ve already gotten a chance to taste what WFPC2 has done for our understanding of the Universe, Planets,…

A Beacon from the Invisible Universe

Stars are like everything else in the Universe (to quote E.B. White): we’re born, we live a little while, we die. The thing that people may not realize is this: stars have been doing this since before the Universe was visible! What do I mean by this? Take a look at this nebula, Barnard 68.…