Friday, February 24, 2017

Thirty Years Ago, This Week... Out Of Hydrus -- A VASTLY POWERFUL Flash Of Starlight Reached Earth: First Fully Recorded Super-Nova

This sort of arriving star stuff still gives me goosebumps, now thirty years on -- as I saw it originally from Tim's backyard telescope in the Rockies, that night in 1987, on a trip home. . . smile. [Click at right to enlarge.]

Here is the full NASA page -- and a bit:

. . . .To commemorate the 30th anniversary of SN 1987A, new images, time-lapse movies, a data-based animation based on work led by Salvatore Orlando at INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo, Italy, and a three-dimensional model are being released. By combining data from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory, as well as the international Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), astronomers — and the public — can explore SN 1987A like never before. . . .

It was visible to the naked eye, even across an unfathomably vast black ocean of space-time, and it took hundreds of thousands of years for the light to reach us. So, in a sense, we were looking backward, into a time machine, those first nights in 1987 -- with our backyard mountain-top telescope. Whoosh.

Fascinatingly (and, as Einstein and Hawking had correctly predicted), a pulsing pair of anti-neutrino bursts reached Earth, and were recorded, just a bit ahead of the light's arrival. Those little neutrino pulse-monsters were not delayed, as the light-waves were, since the light took a tic to break through to the surface of that exploding star (dubbed 1987A) and head outward toward us -- from the Large Magellanic Cloud. . . . Now, there is I think an allegorical lesson here, in staying on course, and not delaying travel toward one's beloved -- as the one that does -- will first arrive, and with a satisfied grin, too. . . now I'm off for the weekend, grinning just the same. . . .


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