neutron star

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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…

“There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere.” -Isaac Asimov One of the most spectacular and successful ideas of the 20th Century was Einstein’s General Relativity, or the idea that matter and energy determines the curvature of spacetime, and the curvature of spacetime in turn determines…

A Little Baby… Supernova?

We know, more or less how supernovae work. We’ve seen them just hours after they first go off through telescopes and satellites. The Crab Nebula, also known as M1, was a supernova that went off nearly 1,000 years ago in our own galaxy, for example, and we can simulate pretty well that it formed like…

How to make a Black Hole

You and I have lived on planet Earth long enough to know that if you want to launch something into space, it needs to travel fast enough to escape the pull of Earth’s gravity. Launch it with too slow of a speed, and it crashes back into Earth. Launch it with a little more speed,…