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Ancient supernova mystery solved

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posted on Oct, 25 2011 @ 08:31 AM

A mystery surrounding the first recorded supernova - seen by Chinese astronomers in AD185 - has been solved.

The supernova RCW 86 lit up the sky for eight months, documented at the time as a "guest star".

In more recent times, astronomers have wondered how it grew so large, so fast.

Space telescope observations now suggest that before exploding, a wind of material from the star blew a cavity around it, into which the supernova could expand much more quickly.

The supernova, about 8,000 light-years away, is huge - if the infrared light it emits could be seen by our eyes, it would appear to be as large in the sky as the full Moon..

I myself cannot begin to imgine what the humans of earth thought about this when looking to the sky.

Here is a great image of a Supernova

This is what NASA had to say.

"This supernova remnant got really big, really fast," said Brian Williams, an astronomer at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, in a statement. "It's two to three times bigger than we would expect for a supernova that was witnessed exploding nearly 2,000 years ago. Now, we've been able to finally pinpoint the cause.

edit on 25-10-2011 by judus because: added more info

edit on 25-10-2011 by judus because: added more info

edit on 25-10-2011 by judus because: (no reason given)

edit on 25-10-2011 by judus because: (no reason given)


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edit on 25-10-2011 by Ahabstar because: (no reason given)

edit on 25-10-2011 by judus because: added more info

edit on 25-10-2011 by judus because: added more info

posted on Oct, 25 2011 @ 09:35 AM
Thanks for that.

Sorry was not tying to post as my work will know next time

posted on Oct, 25 2011 @ 09:52 AM
reply to post by judus

Do you have any comments about this yourself? It's customary to add some of your own comments about the topic when starting a thread, like at least 2-3 sentences (a paragraph).

The headline is a little misleading. It says mystery solved, but they just replaced one mystery with another mystery.:

Scientists initially suspected that RCW 86 was the result of a core-collapse supernova, the most powerful type of stellar blast. They had seen hints of a cavity around the remnant, and, at that time, such cavities were only associated with core-collapse supernovae. In those events, massive stars blow material away from them before they blow up, carving out holes around them.

But other evidence argued against a core-collapse supernova. X-ray data from Chandra and XMM-Newton indicated that the object consisted of high amounts of iron, a telltale sign of a Type Ia blast. Together with the infrared observations, a picture of a Type Ia explosion into a cavity emerged.

"Modern astronomers unveiled one secret of a two-millennia-old cosmic mystery only to reveal another," said Bill Danchi, Spitzer and WISE program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
That seems to be the way science works though. As soon as we answer one question, another one takes its place.

posted on Oct, 25 2011 @ 10:16 AM
Thanks i understand.

To be fair it was a slight tester thread for myself I think i may take it down revamp it give credit were due and add some from myself into the mix.

posted on Oct, 25 2011 @ 02:56 PM
reply to post by judus

Nice edit to the OP. And you added another picture too!

What you added is what I was thinking initially but I wasn't sure where you were going with this thread.

Even with our improved understanding of the heavens, it's still pretty awe inspiring.

But I still wonder what it would have been like to be alive in the second century and seen this spectacle with much less understanding than we have now. It must have been truly awe-inspiring!

And remember, their skies weren't washed out by city lights (like mine are), so that made the sight even more dramatic.

posted on Oct, 25 2011 @ 04:03 PM
There is some more info/photo's here >> 2,000yr old Supernova Mystery

edit on 25-10-2011 by KJellybean because: wrong link

edit on 25-10-2011 by KJellybean because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 25 2011 @ 10:02 PM
It is so rare for me to get out of light pollution these days (don't get me wrong I like technology and infrastructure), but in the days before all of what we have the sky's were so overwhelming to daily life it's almost hard to comprehend now.

Believe me when I do get out of the lights we make, I do notice, and I look up to take in some awe. I also like to have the window seat on long jet trips to watch the ground, the sky, and it is not surprising that a lot of UFO sightings come from low light pollution areas like central Mexico, south America, and places like that distant from the grid of energy power transmissions.

I think a lot of sightings are falling debris from earth orbit, manmade and some natural extraterrestrial. Like the stuff a little bigger than micro meteors. Nothing intelligent. Just debris entering earth atmosphere and burning up. A rock the size of a pebble can put on a nice show entering earth atmosphere at 80,000 mph you know, and never land.

posted on Oct, 26 2011 @ 02:03 AM
For myself it is hard to understand what is our level (humans) of understanding of the universe for example do we just have a basic knowledge or do we understand quite a bit. Will we have the earth is flat understanding and find we have been completely incorrect the mind boggles.

For me personally when i look to the sky and watch the stars blinker i feel very much humbled by the sheer size and that we are just a speck of dusk in the cosmos.

posted on Oct, 26 2011 @ 03:04 AM
i cant exactly recall but isnt one of these supernovas heading towards us now?thought i heard something about it?anyone know

posted on Oct, 26 2011 @ 06:16 AM
reply to post by notsoobvious

Maybe you're thinking of the Andromeda Galaxy being on a collision course with our milky way galaxy...Yes it's heading right for us as far as we can tell.

But let's hope no supernovas happen too close to home, they could wipe out all life on Earth.

The one mentioned in the OP was a safe distance away when it happened, about 9100 light years. I think I read one happens every 50 years in our galaxy, but the vast majority of them aren't visible from Earth because as the saying goes, we can't see the forest because of the trees being in the way. Similarly we can't see much of our own galaxy and actually can see some other galaxies in their entirety much better than we can see our own.

It's possible we could get to see a much closer supernova:

Supernova poised to go off near Earth

A student at Harvard University has stumbled across the terrifying spectacle of a star in our galactic backyard that is on the brink of exploding in a supernova. It is so close that if it were to blow up before moving away from us, it could wipe out life on Earth....

But do not panic yet. "Very soon" could mean hundreds of millions of years in the future. And that is just as well, because we are only 150 light years away from HR 8210 at present - well short of the 160 to 200 light years thought to be the minimum safe distance from a supernova. If it did let fly, the high-energy electromagnetic radiation and cosmic rays it released would destroy Earth's ozone layer within minutes, giving life little chance of survival.

This would not be the first time a supernova has changed the course of life on Earth. In 2001, Jesus Maiz-Apellaniz and colleagues from the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, found a "smoking gun" supernova remnant, in the group of stars known as the Scorpius- Centaurus association.
As it says, no need to panic, but they can be pretty nasty if they happen too close to home.

posted on Oct, 26 2011 @ 08:29 AM

Just so that we are on the same page this is the one that was also documented in Ancient China and stated that the light was so bright it lasted for several days? If so I always wondered about this one as well and wondered how it lasted so long. I figured that if it was as far away as they say and reached Earth and was bright enough to light up the sky well then something just didn't seem to add up for me. Either it was closer than expected or something else, but on both accounts (especially something else which I can't remember at this point) are wrong. Either way I'm glad to see that the mystery was solved.

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