Posts tagged stars

The Scale of the Universe [Updated]

This is a very clever little bit of flash put together by someone whom I have no idea who they are. All I know is that the site was blocked at work. I went in and nabbed the SWF file and I’m going to place it on my blog. You still have to endure the Newgrounds logo to see the animation.

[swfobj src=”http://static.onemorelevel.com/games3/scale-of-the-universe-2.swf” alt=”Scale of the Universe” width=”640″ height=”440″]

Use the keyboard to move left or right for a smoother experience. The largest things in the Universe are mind boggling. The really fascinating stuff is all of the tiny things that go into making the world around us. You can see how small a neutrino is for instance; and why it passes unhindered through just about everything (including entire planets!).

The music is very pleasant too. 🙂

A new type of supernova?

SN 2006gy

This one exploding star outshines an entire galaxy! The NGC 1260 core is the dimmer object.

Ok, I thought I was all on the up and up with these things and how they worked.  Ok, that is, as much as a layman can be on the up and up.  I am not an astrophysicist (yet)!

So get this: a few years ago we witnessed a strange supernova.  Actually, a little back story first.  The general idea I always had was that stars with several solar masses went supernova.  Reason being, they burned through their fuel at a greater rate.  Once the fuel at the core was gone or fusion wasn’t adequate enough to resist the inward pressure (gravity) the whole thing collapsed.  This releases a tremendous amount of energy and essentially the star explodes.  You get left with a huge amount of ‘stuff’ being blown out into space and you’re left with either a neutron star or black hole at what used to be the core of the star.

That was a super basic overview and back story.  So what is this new supernova?  It is being called a Pair-instability Supernova.  What the what?!  If the name sounds bizarre then wait until you hear about how it works.

So here is how it goes.  First, you need a supermassive star.  A star of 130-250 solar masses seems to be the “zone”.  Instinctively, one thinks “the more massive the star, the more massive the black hole it leaves behind”.  Well, not really.  At least, not in the case of this kind of star.  See, these supermassive stars have low metallicity.  I believe that means they’re almost entirely Hydrogen and Helium with very little other elements present…

…and well, I’m going to just post what Wiki says because I’m feeling lazy:

A pair instability supernova occurs when pair production, the production of free electrons and positrons in the collision between atomic nuclei and energetic gamma rays, reduces thermal pressure inside a supermassive star‘s core. This pressure drop leads to a partial collapse, then greatly accelerated burning in a runaway thermonuclear explosion which blows the star completely apart without leaving a black hole remnant behind.[1][2] Pair instability supernovae can only happen in stars with a mass range from around 130 to 250 solar masses and low to moderate metallicity (low abundance of elements other than hydrogen and helium, a situation common in Population III stars). The recently observed objects SN 2006gy and SN 2007bi[3] are hypothesized to have been pair instability supernovae.

So there, you have it.  The star goes kablooey and leaves nothing but the fresh scent of brute.  Ok maybe not.  Incredible though, that a star can completely obliterate itself and leave nothing behind.

With that said, the star SN 2006gy is in a galaxy some 240 million light  years away (ie the light we saw originated 240 million years ago).  There is a star nearer to us, Eta Carinae that might go supernova much in the same way.  If it does, it will likely be brilliantly bright.  Visible during the day and able to be read by at night.

Fact is stranger than fiction, once again.

More info here

And here (this site has multiple links at the bottom)

The Scale of the Universe

This is a very clever little bit of flash put together by someone whom I have no idea who they are.   All I know is that the site was blocked at work.  I went in and nabbed the SWF file and I’m going to place it on my blog.  You still have to endure the Newgrounds logo to see the animation.

[swfobj src=”http://www.ilovebeinghuman.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/525347_scale_of_universe_ng.swf” alt=”Scale of the Universe” width=”640″ height=”440″]

Use the keyboard to move left or right for a smoother experience.  The largest things in the Universe are mind boggling.  The really fascinating stuff is all of the tiny things that go into making the world around us.  You can see how small a neutrino is for instance; and why it passes unhindered through just about everything  (including entire planets!).

The music is very pleasant too. 🙂

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