Sunday, October 17, 2010
Image: A false-color composite (HST/SIRTF) image of the supernova remnant nebula from SN 1604.
Today is the anniversary of an important day in Astronomy. On this day in the year 1604, Astronomer Johannes Kepler (December 27, 1571 – November 15,1630) observed the supernova which was subsequently named Kepler's Star. This supernova is also referred to as Supernova 1604. Visible to the naked eye, this supernova was brighter at its peak than any other star in the night sky, and all the planets (other than Venus).No supernova has been observed unquestionably in the Milky Way since 1604.
A supernova "is a stellar explosion which expels much or all of a star's material at a velocity of up to 30,000 km/s (10% of the speed of light), driving a shock wave into the surrounding interstellar medium." (source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supernova).
"Kepler described the new star two years later in his "De Stella Nova." In it, Kepler addressed the star's astronomical properties while taking a skeptical approach to the many astrological interpretations then circulating.The birth of a new star implied the variability of the heavens." (source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johannes_Kepler ).
"In 1941, astronomers used the Mt. Wilson 100-inch telescope and identified the gaseous remnant of Kepler's supernova, a faint fan-shaped nebulosity about 40 arc seconds in extent, consisted of filaments and bright condensations with a total brightness of about magnitude 19. "
Why are supernovas important?
"Spotting supernovas in advance would be a boon to astronomers, who do not fully understand the death throes of a dying star. Supernovas create all the elements of the universe -- the stuff of planets, plants and people All stars make heavy chemical elements like carbon and oxygen through a process called nuclear fusion, where lighter elements are fused together to make heavier elements. Many chemical elements heavier than iron, such as gold and uranium, are produced in the heat and pressure of supernova explosions. These heavy elements enrich the interstellar medium, providing the building blocks for stars and planets, like Earth." The supernova which Kepler witnessed was in reality the light of the explosion of a star. This explosion happened thousands of years ago, but the light of the explosion only reached Earth in 1604."
"The supernova remnant resulting from this supernova is considered to be one of the
"prototypical" objects of its kind, and is still an object of much study in astronomy."
Here is a video about Kepler's star I found on Youtube:
I hope you have enjoyed learning about Kepler, Kepler's star, and supernovas (especially why supernovas they are important.) I sure have!
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Thoughts worth thinking about
Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia
A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed
Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein
The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi
The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller
Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns
Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama
Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -
Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw
Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165
The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.