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Author Topic: Exploding star to be visible from Earth within a fortnight.  (Read 3900 times)

Stephen66515

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Exploding star to be visible from Earth within a fortnight.
« on: August 26, 2011, 03:45:25 PM »
The most visible exploding star in a generation will be visible in skies above Britain within a fortnight, Oxford University astronomers have announced.

The supernova will burn with the brightness of more than a billion Suns | Photo: AP

Quote
The supernova, triggered by the collapse of a star 21 million light years away from Earth, began on Tuesday and could soon be bright enough to see through a pair of binoculars.

 The cosmic event, observed by Oxford scientists and American colleagues, is one of the closest stellar explosions to Earth since 1987, and is the nearest example of its type to be seen from Earth in 40 years.

 The rare "type 1a" supernova – an event where a star explodes, then sucks up the energy from another nearby star and is reborn – happened in the Pinwheel Galaxy, located in the Great Bear constellation.

 It is of particular interest to scientists because type 1a supernovae can be used to measure the size and age of the universe.

 The supernova, dubbed PTF11kly, is close enough that astronomers will be able to study it in unprecedented detail, and Nasa announced it would tear up the Hubble telescope's work schedule to study the phenomenon from Saturday.

For the first three weeks after the explosion, the supernova will burn with the brightness of more than a billion Suns, but experts warned that it would still be difficult for the general public to locate in the night sky.

 Dr Mark Sullivan, who led the Oxford team, said: "The best time to see this exploding star will be just after evening twilight in the Northern hemisphere in a week or so's time ... You'll need dark skies and a good pair of binoculars, although a small telescope would be even better."

 Tom Boles, a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Association, added: "Most amateur astronomers detect supernovas using electronic sensors, so to be able to see one at all is tremendous and to be able to see it using binoculars is pretty much unprecedented.

 "To find it will be relatively easy if you know where to look, but someone who has not done it before will probably fail because you really need to know where the Pinwheel Galaxy is, and even then it will not appear that bright."

 The discovery of the giant explosion just hours after it took place means astronomers will also get a rare chance to study the outer layers of the blast, which contain unburnt sections of the star.

 Prof Andy Howell of the University of California Santa Barbara, one of the team who made the find, said: "We caught this supernova earlier than we’ve ever discovered a supernova of this type.

 "On Tuesday, it wasn’t there. Then, on Wednesday, boom! There it was -caught within hours of the explosion. As soon as I saw the discovery image I knew we were onto something big.

 “We are finding new clues to solving the mystery of the origin of these supernovae that has perplexed us for 70 years. Despite looking at thousands of supernovae, I’ve never seen anything like this before.”

Source:  www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/8725053/Exploding-star-to-be-visible-from-Earth-within-a-fortnight.html






I'm going to be keeping my eye's, on the sky, with a camera ready at all points, will try snap shots of this!

I expect you all do the same!

joiwind

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Re: Exploding star to be visible from Earth within a fortnight.
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2011, 04:37:09 PM »
Thanks for this.

Some details : as stated in the article the supernova can be found in the Pinwheel galaxy near Ursa major (Great Bear, Big Dipper, the Plough etc), the Pinwheel galaxy is NGC 5457 or M 101.

To find the galaxy look at the first two stars (Alkaid and Mizar) (on the "left") of the "handle" of the "plough" and then look "upwards" from them to a central point forming the apex of a near-equilateral triangle with those two stars forming the other two corners and the baseline. The Pinwheel galaxy is at that point.

Happy hunting !
.: I use K-Meleon - the browser you can control - but I love Pale Moon too :.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2011, 04:41:54 PM by joiwind »

tomos

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Re: Exploding star to be visible from Earth within a fortnight.
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2011, 05:41:02 PM »

Looking forward to seeing the big telescope photos :up:
Tom

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Re: Exploding star to be visible from Earth within a fortnight.
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2011, 06:15:01 PM »
Looking forward to this. Like the saying goes...keep looking up

Stephen66515

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Re: Exploding star to be visible from Earth within a fortnight.
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2011, 12:05:55 PM »
On the same note as this, has anybody heard about the one thats going to supernova any moment (They said 2012).

This isn't going to cause any hard to us, but they said it could have a couple of strange effects:

  • If it happens, it will be so bright as to cause a temporary "Second Sun"
  • Due to said "Second Sun" we may be in complete daytime for several months.

Two suns...wow...Its gonna be worth every moment of daylight just to be able to say we saw that...alien landscapes in our own skies, how cool would that be!

(PS: Theres also the chance it might not happen for another 10,000 years, so don't get too excited :P)

joiwind

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.: I use K-Meleon - the browser you can control - but I love Pale Moon too :.

Stephen66515

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Re: Exploding star to be visible from Earth within a fortnight.
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2011, 06:46:38 PM »
The source I had, didn't mention anything about impending doom, in-fact, quite the opposite, it stated that we would be blasted with particles that will cause us no harm what-so-ever, and will only cause the double sun, and perhaps no daylight for a little while.

Gawd knows though...it's hard to find a reliable source for bloody anything now-a-days lol

MilesAhead

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Re: Exploding star to be visible from Earth within a fortnight.
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2011, 07:39:16 PM »
If Sol explodes I just hope it's during the day.  The bright light in contrast with the night sky could produce a hell of a lot of eye strain.



Stephen66515

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Re: Exploding star to be visible from Earth within a fortnight.
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2011, 07:45:20 PM »
If Sol explodes I just hope it's during the day.  The bright light in contrast with the night sky could produce a hell of a lot of eye strain.




You see, thats the thing right there...There will be NO night sky while its happening, it will act as a second sun, causing 100% daylight for 24 hours a day, for who knows how long lol.

MilesAhead

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Re: Exploding star to be visible from Earth within a fortnight.
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2011, 07:53:58 PM »
If Sol explodes I just hope it's during the day.  The bright light in contrast with the night sky could produce a hell of a lot of eye strain.




You see, thats the thing right there...There will be NO night sky while its happening, it will act as a second sun, causing 100% daylight for 24 hours a day, for who knows how long lol.

You really shouldn't explain jokes. It's bad form. :)