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Old 05-21-08, 03:15 PM   #1
Allen
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Supernova observed exploding

Penn State
A.P.

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Thanks to a fortunate observation with NASA's Swift satellite, astronomers, for the first time, have caught a normal supernova at the moment of its birth -- the first instant when an exploding star begins spewing its energy into space, transforming into a supernova that during its brief lifetime will shine brighter than billions of stars combined.
Very cool!

They were observing one star and another in the field of view went pop.

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"A star exploded right before my eyes," lead author Alicia Soderberg, an astrophysics researcher at Princeton University, said Wednesday in a teleconference.

She likened it to "winning the astronomy lottery. We caught the whole thing from start-to-finish on tape."

Last edited by Allen; 05-21-08 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 05-21-08, 05:16 PM   #2
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Here's the CNN item.
http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/space/0...ef=mpstoryview
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Old 05-21-08, 06:22 PM   #3
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That is SOOOO Cool!

makes me want to go star gazing. Hopefully the nasty southerly will blow through quickly so I can actually see the sky.
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Old 05-22-08, 07:40 AM   #4
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That would have been cool to see. I would love to take out my little scope and check some things out but with the cloud cover and wind we have that would be impossible.
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Old 05-22-08, 07:41 AM   #5
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hmmmm....at first i thought this might be in reference to the jamis supernova. now THAT would have been interesting.
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Old 05-22-08, 07:42 AM   #6
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Is it a Champagne Supernova though?
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Old 05-22-08, 07:43 AM   #7
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 05-22-08, 07:48 AM   #8
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MV wants...but painted red with a dust trail following it.
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Old 05-22-08, 08:11 AM   #9
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very cool. NPR covered this yesterday...
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Old 05-22-08, 08:21 AM   #10
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MV wants...but painted red with a dust trail following it.
It turns red as it goes away from you.
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 05-22-08, 08:22 AM   #11
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It turns red as it goes away from you.
get off the brakes then.
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Old 05-22-08, 08:23 AM   #12
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Fortunately i'll still have access to the journal tomorrow. Perhaps i shall share
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Old 05-22-08, 08:23 AM   #13
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Doppler shifting paint.
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 05-22-08, 02:57 PM   #14
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That is SOOOO Cool!

makes me want to go star gazing. Hopefully the nasty southerly will blow through quickly so I can actually see the sky.
I'm afraid you wouldn't have seen this. Supernovae are brightest in x and gamma ray wavelengths, a good dozen octaves higher than visible light (your eyes can see a little less than one octave, from red to violet). The visible light afterglow is fainter than the galaxy they occur in, and it takes a pretty sensitive instrument to see it. The NASA article about it has pictures of the event in both x-ray and visible light:

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/...supernova.html

The Swift Space Telescope that found this is pretty cool. It has one wide angle sensor that continuously watches about 1/10th of the sky. When it detects a flash of x-rays, it requests an ok from the ground within seconds and spins around at a much faster speed than other telescopes can manage to aim its high resolution instruments at event. Other instruments take hours or days to respond. Still that means Swift always misses the build-up and first 30-90 seconds of a supernova...except this time.

An interesting side story though:

A couple weeks ago NASA scheduled a press conference about a new discovery. These happen fairly often, but for some reason the press picked up on this one more than usual. From the announcement, this much was clear:

* It was something that astronomers had been searching out for over 50 years
* It was a combined effort of the Chandra X-ray space telescope and ground observatories
* It was in our galaxy

The guesses were all over the place. Aliens, killer asteroids, and the mythical planet Niribu were some of the more amusing ones. My guess was a supernova start-to-finish. It turns out it was a supernova, but the significance was merely that it was a fresh supernova remnant in our galaxy.

So my guess was wrong, but by coincidence the same thing happened anyways.
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Old 05-22-08, 06:16 PM   #15
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Supernovas is how God punishes the disobedience of alien civilisations. He makes them bright enough for everyone to see the power of His wrath... He loves us - but if He had to vaporise us there will still be thousands of other civilisations for Him to love... and vaporise.
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Old 05-22-08, 06:39 PM   #16
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Supernovas is how God punishes the disobedience of alien civilisations. He makes them bright enough for everyone to see the power of His wrath... He loves us - but if He had to vaporise us there will still be thousands of other civilisations for Him to love... and vaporise.
A supernova is nature's version of Monty Python.
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Old 05-22-08, 06:43 PM   #17
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wo..... I almost threw-up... that was amazingly gross.
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Old 05-22-08, 06:55 PM   #18
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You made it through your teens without watching "The Meaning of Life"?

Yeah, Python pushed the envelope back in day.
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Old 05-22-08, 06:58 PM   #19
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You made it through your teens without watching "The Meaning of Life"?

Yeah, Python pushed the envelope back in day.


It was a long movie... I watched most it. I think that part was edited out for tv.
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