Skip to comments.Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Shocked by Supernova 1987A
Posted on 02/27/2012 3:47:43 PM PST by SunkenCiv
Explanation: Twenty five years ago, the brightest supernova of modern times was sighted. Over time, astronomers have watched and waited for the expanding debris from this tremendous stellar explosion to crash into previously expelled material. A clear result of such a collision is demonstrated in the above time lapse video of images recorded by the Hubble Space Telescope between 1994 and 2009. The movie depicts the collision of an outward moving blast wave with the pre-existing, light-year wide ring. The collision occurred at speeds near 60 million kilometers per hour and shock-heats the ring material causing it to glow. Astronomers continue to study the collision as it illuminates the interesting past of SN 1987A, and provides clues to the origin of the mysterious rings.
(Excerpt) Read more at 188.8.131.52 ...
Clearly Ronald Reagan’s fault.
Does not look like a place you want to be too close to.
So, what is the best estimate of the speed of the particles in the blast wave?
1) The light, of course, at c 300,000/sec). But what is the speed of the particles?
2) If we now see 10-15 supernovas per century across all visible galaxies, why do they assume the early supernovas had a lifespan of less than 50,000 years? What has changed to cause so few now? Or are they assuming all the early supernova-sized source stars already burned out?
3) If supernova blasts like this one created all heavier matter nuclei in the universe (only Hydrogen and Helium coming the assumed Big Bang) where are the supernova remnants that created the 50x10^54 number of heavy nuclei collisions we find in the earth’s mass alone?
Would not you require some large fraction of that 10^54 number of stars present - since only a small fraction of each supernova is going to get blown away from the source star into exactly the right place at exactly the right time to be gathered into the proto-solar system’s dust cloud?
The most interesting part is how that picture is “live” yet about something that happened over 186,000 years ago. That’s how long the light from that supernova took to reach the backs of our eyes.
So far, every supernova that Mankind has witnessed was a star smaller than our Sun and no closer than 20,000 light years away -- I think I got that right.
Betelgeuse is so massive that our own Sun looks like a grain of sand next to a regulation NBA basketball. Astronomically, Betelgeuse is basically just next door in our galactic neighborhood.
It couldn't even compete with a beautiful car I once had: 1967 Chevy NOVA Super Sports.
Now, that was a real and also beautiful Supernova.
It's supposed to explode within the next million years. So I won't put it high on my things to worry about. As Louis XV would have said, Apres moi, le poulet frit.
If it is 650 light-years away and it exploded 649 years ago, the Mayans were right.