Stars, Supernovae & Stuff!
Hey! I'm not 100% sure if this thread goes here or not. My apologies if not, but...
Is anyone here interested in astronomy? Not to be confused with, "Someone will notice those tennis shoes you bought last week for 50 bucks" astrology columns. I mean like stars, planets, galaxies, black holes...
Recently, the first ever shock breakout (a high-energy X-ray flash upon the collapse of a dying star) has been recorded by astronomers in our own Milky Way galaxy. Scientists around the world recorded it. It's a big deal in the science world because until then, supernovae were only witnessed hours after the initial shockwave was released. Seeing the actual explosion of the star allows them to gain more information about what causes the death of a star, what happens, etc.
For those of you who may not know, a supernova is the death of a massive star (larger than the sun). Throughout the life of the star, fusion is occuring from the star's gases. Eventually the fusion results in the formation of iron at the core of the star. The iron builds up, until after millions of years, the star is no longer capable of sustaining the iron. The core crumbles, and a shock is released that explodes through the gases to the surface of the star. The eruption is called a shock breakout, it's an X-ray beam, and it only lasts for a few minutes... after that, visible energy is released. The outer layer of gases surge off into space. The elements they carry are desposited into the surrounding stars, planets, suns, what have you and enrich the element content of them. The gas as it's flying through the space is called a supernova remnant. Supernova explosions are one of the most powerful events in the universe. The light that they give off can outshine an entire galaxy...*
Anyway, I got interested in stars & stuff while researching for my novel. Some of the photographs from Hubble and NASA were really the most beautiful things I had ever seen, and I was pretty hooked on learning more about this stuff.
I'm curious if any of you guys are interested at all in astronomy, even just looking at the stars on the hood of your car or whatever. This is a picture of the Orion Nebula, actually one of the pictures that got me hooked: www.visionsofthecosmos.co.uk/orion%20hubble%20nasa%201.jpg
* I'm not an astronomer, and it is absolutely possible that I've gotten something wrong about this process (though, to the best of my knowledge, I have not). Feel free to call me out if you see any errors!