Carl Sagan once famously said we are all star stuff. So, too, is the bottom of the sea, apparently.Read More
Magnetar, I choose you!
When a star reaches the end of its lifespan, it quite literally goes out in a blaze of glory in the form of a supernova. These stellar explosions are usually quite bright, but a recently recorded one has beaten them all—and confused the scientific community in the process.Read More
We have trouble predicting whether or not it's going to rain on a given day (which is understandable, because meteorology is hard), so how did astronomers, for the first time, predict when a star—much further up in the sky than clouds—was going to explode so they could be watching? Well, technically, they didn't, but that doesn't make its predicted appearance any less impressive.Read More
Then wonder what kind of giant has a beating heart made of stars.
The Crab Nebula is one of those things that NASA made kind of famous, giving the remnants of a massive star instant recognizability. But this cloud isn't static -- it's been expanding since its explosion. Now, you can take a look at that expansion in a video showing how the nebula has changed in just over a decade.Read More
We love explosions, don't we? Especially when they're a) on TV or b) very far away from us. In this case, crazy far away, because I'm talking about supernovas -- those spectacular events wherein a star dies and then has a cosmic funeral in the form of a massive explosion visible to the edge of the universe itself. Now astronomers have discovered a new variety of stellar explosion that's...much smaller. It's potentially even adorable. A kind of supernova that is so weak that the star itself survives it.Read More
Rumors of Betelgeuse's death have been greatly exaggerated. Despite some recent, breathless reports on the star Betelgeuse going supernova and 'sploding all over the place, temporarily adding a second sun in the Earth sky but also possibly proving the Mayans correct in their assumption that the world will end in 2012, none of this is likely to happen. As awesome as all of that might be. Well, the 'sploding/second sun part, at least. And actually, Betelgeuse has been "dying" for a while. You might call it the Dr. Mark Greene of starsRead More
A 10-year-old Canadian girl named Kathryn Aurora Gray has discovered an exploding supernova in a galaxy 240 million light-years away. Using photos taken on New Year's Eve and the day after New Year's, Gray, whose father is astronomer Paul Gray, identified the supernova by finding a burst of light where there had been no light before, in Galaxy UGC 3378. Gray, who made the discovery under the watch of her father and astronomer David Lane, is the youngest person ever to discover a supernova, according to the Royal Astronomy Society of Canada. [pdf] David Lane:
Kathryn Aurora Gray, Paul Gray, and I are pleased to report that we have discovered a supernova (mag ~17) in UGC 3378 (a magnitude 15 galaxy in the constellation of Camelopardalis), as reported on IAU Electronic Telegram 2618. It was imaged in early evening on New Year's Eve in 2010 and discovered on January 2, 2011 by Kathryn Aurora Gray (age 10) and Paul Gray (located in Birdton, NB). It was verified shortly after dark later that day by Illinois-based amateur astronomer Brian Tieman and Arizona-based Canadian amateur astronomer Jack Newton. It was then reported to the IAU's Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams.(via Universe Today) Read More