Feeds

back to article Hubble boffins: Incredibly old supernova could explain EVERYTHING

NASA's Hubble telescope has spotted the most distant massive star explosion of its kind ever, one which could help boffins understand the very fabric of the universe. Hubble view of supernova SN Wilson The telescope picked out Supernova UDS10Wil, also known as SN Wilson, in the night sky. The star apparently blew up over 10 …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Bronze badge
Boffin

Ever wondered if...

...any of the heavy elements' atoms created in an observed supernova are currently in your own body?

The chance of it is not zero!

0
4

Re: Ever wondered if...

Not in an observed supernova, because the chemicals are already here. However, everything in your body outside of hydrogen, (any trace of) helium, and lithium are cooked in stars, and IIRC anything from neon up comes from a star that went supernova (certainly iron and beyond).

7
1
Bronze badge
FAIL

Re: Ever wondered if...

Actually thinking about it the light only just got here so it might just take a bit longer to get the matter here before the light! I think I'll downvote myself!

17
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Bronze badge
Happy

Re: Ever wondered if...

How about a supernova remnant then...?

0
0
Mushroom

Re: Ever wondered if...

You are right about everything (and every element) other than Lithium. There is not a method of manufacturing Lithium in the fusion process and the people who look at supernovae think that heavier elements are made when they occur, not lighter ones. So almost ALL the Lithium in the universe comes from the Big Bang itself

Or at least that's what it said in a book I read a few years ago

0
0
Silver badge
Happy

Re: Ever wondered if...

The nearest supernova remnant to you is you, but it goes a bit far to point to a distant (actually, close by on a cosmological scale) supernova in Messier 101 a year or two back and say (in a high pitched voice) MUMMY!!!, as I heard one amateur astronomer do at a star party.

0
0
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Ever wondered if...

Willing to admit a mistake?

On *these* forums?

Are you new?

5
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Ever wondered if...

"The chance of it is not zero!"

Actually, it pretty much is.

The light from a supernova travels at the speed of light (obviously), while the matter from such a supernova travels at a great deal less than the speed of light. The light from the supernova that created the iron in your blood has long since gone far away from our solar system, and the iron forged in any supernova that we are just seeing now would have to have traveled faster than the speed of light to have reached the dust cloud that became our solar system several billion years ago.

2
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Ever wondered if...

> However, everything in your body outside of hydrogen, (any trace of) helium, and lithium are cooked in stars, and IIRC anything from neon up comes from a star that went supernova (certainly iron and beyond).

To be pedantic, any Carbon-14 in your body won't have come directly from a star, but the amounts are infinitesimal in comparison.

1
0
Bronze badge
Happy

Re: Ever wondered if...

I think it's a little more dignified than leaving a 'This post has been deleted by its author', I wonder if there should be a rule that you are not allowed to delete a post that has either been replied to or downvoted.

Anyway, sciency commentards are generally a little more tolerant!

1
0
Pint

Re: Ever wondered if...

Ravenwiz said "observed supernova" - he didn't specify who/what was doing the observing.

So today's challenge is to work out what might have been observing a supernova which made the oxygen atoms which made the water which made the beer (left) that I shall shortly be drinking because it's Friday. This depends on having a clue about how fast oxygen atoms travel outwards from a supernova - which I don't. Any offers?

Are we talking archeae, dinosaurs, early hominids, Roman legionaries, my grandad, or me in ridiculous 70s trousers?

2
1
Bronze badge

Re: Ever wondered if...

Not in an observed supernova, because the chemicals are already here. However, everything in your body outside of hydrogen, (any trace of) helium, and lithium are cooked in stars, and IIRC anything from neon up comes from a star that went supernova (certainly iron and beyond).

That used to be accepted wisdom but it has been shown at the very least not to be entirely true. Putting the heavier elements on supernova was only really a hook on which to hang an awkward problem without a better answer, since models suggested the process would actually work in reverse, tending to force everything back towards lighter elements as opposed to building heavier ones.

It is carbon stars that are now regarded as responsible for much of the heavy elements and we have direct observational evidence to support that conclusion. Technetium has been detected in carbon stars spectroscopically, and since the most stable isotope has a half life of "only" four million years it is reasonable to conclude that it must have been formed in situ. The process doesn't release any energy by itself of course, but there is energy available to drive the processes from other reactions that are occurring.

2
0

Re: Ever wondered if...

And of course the answer can only be: Depends. Obviously matter travels slower than light, so, it depends by and large on how much time past by between the time that the supernova happened and the time that the light "we" see now was emitted. Also, any such matter would have to have been emitted with enormous energy, and have 'rained down' after the formation of the earth. Still, whatever could possibly have made it here as any kind of bodily building block, would at best be ionized helium (alphas) neutralized in the atmosphere. That nobel gas isn't a constituent of any part of our bodies. In all: Yes, teeny tiny chance any of it would have rained down, no chance anyone carries it in their bones.

0
0

This post has been deleted by a moderator

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Supernovae as popcorn

Reminds me of the old astronomy joke: if we assume a spherical cow, ...

1
0

Re: Supernovae as popcorn

...in a vacuum.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: Supernovae as popcorn

Or the Cambridge entrance exam question that began:

An elephant, whose mass may be neglected, ...

4
0

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Silver badge
Headmaster

> until it greedily accretes too much mass and explodes

Hrm! It's not as if the physical system has any choice in deciding whether it wants that last little mint or not. This is not Mises' "Human Action" but Misner's "Gravitation".

> If supernovae were popcorn, the question is how long before they start popping?

Someone clearly is channelling Carl Sagan.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Doesn't this break the usage of Type 1a supernovae as 'standard candles'

I understand the theory that postulates a Type 1a supernova as being caused by accretion by a white dwarf from a more massive neighbour. Over time the mass of the white dwarf increases until it hits a limit (the Chandrasekhar limit) and it expolodes as a supernova. I can see that all superbovae produced in this way will have the same mass and thus power, brightness and so on. However, I fail to see how to orbiting white dwarfs of of variable mass can merge to form a supernova with anything like the same constant mass and thus will give variable brightness, ruining the use of Type 1a supernovae as standard candles and thus buggering up their use to guage distance and time.

Can anyone enlighten me?

2
0

Re: superbovae ?

Is that the plural of a spherical cow in a vacuum ?

8
0
Silver badge

Re: superbovae ?

African or European?

2
0
Silver badge

Re: Doesn't this break the usage of Type 1a supernovae as 'standard candles'

If you have a non-fast rotating white dwarf and the mass it accretes from its neighbours does not cause it to spin too rapidly, and its not polluted with lots of other elements then a type 1a will produce a flash of approximately a 1a standard candle. Assuming its not hiding behind its massive neighbour when it goes off.

Its basically a standard candle where the standard is probably ignored by several different manufacturers, retailers and logistic providers but, at the time of its conception, was a lot more standard than anything else available at the time.

I'm not sure how seriously its taken in the hallowed circles but I wouldn't use it as the basis to buy a galaxy.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Doesn't this break the usage of Type 1a supernovae as 'standard candles'

> Can anyone enlighten me?

I'm not an astro-physicist but the assumption has to be that these two white dwarfs don't just crash into each other at high speed and produce a double-sized bang. One will still accrete from the other and one will go supernova first, blowing apart whatever is left of the other. So still a standard sized bang.

Even if they do crash straight into each other, once the critical mass is reached, the supernova explosion propagates far faster than the collision speed, so effectively ending the collision instantaneously. (or as close to instantaneous as something involving two stars can be.)

The distorted explosion (where the remains of the other white dwarf are in the way) might account for some of the spectacular shapes seen in supernova remnants.

0
0
Silver badge
Alien

Dwarf tossing is allowed if they are white!

> two white dwarfs don't just crash into each other at high speed

Very unlikely. That would be better than gunslingers colliding their 9mm projectiles while firing along the length of a street. You need to put them into orbit around each other first, then dump the angular momentum and the energy somewhere (tides, gas, other objects, mysterious forces, gravitational radiation?) so that they spiral into each other.

0
0
Mushroom

Isn't the question really...

Why did this class A type Senior Wilson go supernova 10bn years ago? What or who made him?

1
0
Trollface

Re: Isn't the question really...

"Why did this class A type Senior Wilson go supernova 10bn years ago? What or who made him?"

Never mind Carl Sagan, someone's channelling Calvin in his Tracer Bullet alter ego.

1
0
Silver badge
Pint

Re: Isn't the question really...

They don't write galactic hardboiled stuff like they used to.

0
0
Silver badge
Happy

Everything?

Can it tell me where my lost socks in the wash, are?

Seriously, this is very exciting news.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Everything?

Can it tell me where my lost socks in the wash, are?

Remember to always wash dark matter separately.

8
0
Flame

Just think...

The idiots keep trying to defund and shutdown the Hubble Telescope.

0
1
Bronze badge

Re: Just think...

The idiots keep trying to defund and shutdown the Hubble Telescope.

Have a downvote for "defund". If I had another to give, you'd have one for "shutdown" (as a verb) too.

0
0

"In one model, the explosion is caused by two white dwarf stars merging and in another, one white dwarf feeds off its partner, a normal star, until it greedily accretes too much mass and explodes."

I had thought the common *nova* was caused by a white dwarf accreting mass from a normal companion. Obviously more than one thing can happen -- but what determines the likelihood of going nova, or supernova?

0
0

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Bronze badge
Coat

RE: Everything?

"Can it tell me where my lost socks in the wash, are?"

Socks are the larval stage of coathangers.

2
0
Happy

Re: RE: Everything?

If you put your coat-hangers in the wash, you have only yourself to blame for what happens to your socks!

0
0
Big Brother

Im confused.

Light left this supernove 10 billion years ago and the universe is aproximatly 15 billion years old, so when this supernova exploded the universe was only 5 billion years old. A universe of 5 billion years has a maximum size of 10 billion light years, as the universe expanded at the speed of light. So how did it take 10 billion years for this light to reach us?

0
2
Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Don't blame the lonely electron

> universe of 5 billion years has a maximum size of 10 billion light years, as the universe expanded at the speed of light

The "expansion speed" gives a flying fuck about the speed of light. Regions "causally connected" before inflation hit the nitro may have been flung apart so quickly that they disappeared across each other's cosmological event horizon (i.e. redshifted to flatline and only reachable with speeds > c). These regions would now be "reconnecting", i.e. light from them can reach us as time progresses.

Indeed, the actual universe may be very much vaster than a measly 15 billion LY, which is why is appears exceedingly "flat" (no sign of curvature even at cosmologial distances). It may even be infinite, who knows.

Moreover, there is the idea that as cosmological expansion accelerates, it may all end in a "Big Rip" whereby at each point, the acceleration of the expansion will become such that the cosmological event horizon will be infinitesimally near. Every subatomic particle will feel very lonely indeed in that case.

And why the Big Brother icon?

1
0

Re: Im confused.

First off, it helps to use up to date numbers (roughly speaking > 13.4b & < 14b); Secondly, the deus ex-machina, so-called 'inflationary' epoch throws a pretty good sized monkey wrench into computing the "maximum size" of the universe. That magic makes there really isn't a known maximum size.

0
0

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Silver badge

Re: Im confused.

> If the universe is infinite then everything happens infinitely often.

No.

1
1
Bronze badge

Re: Im confused.

> If the universe is infinite then everything happens infinitely often.

No.

Ah, but you say that now (and at this time) ...

0
0
Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: Im confused.

And I will repeat it infinitely many times, whenever and wherever this is.

ℂ is infinite in any direction, but at no point do you find the same number!

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Im confused.

"ℂ is infinite in any direction, but at no point do you find the same number!"

Yes you do. There is an infinite possible number of values between 0.999...[infinite decimal places]...99 and 1.000...[infinite decimal places]...01 but all of them are equal to 1. Infinity is weird like that. Like its reciprocal zero, it isn't really a number in its own right, and is neither 'large' nor 'small', but is simply a theoretical delimiter of any number set, that has no quantal value in itself.

0
0
Pint

Re: I'm confused. @Steven Roper

Hang on a minute! Zero is not a number in its own right? When my friendly(?) banker tells me I have GBP 0 in my account and I cannot draw any money out till my pension comes in, it is very definitely a number as far as I am concerned!

Though I must admit that when I think of zero sheep, I actually imagine the shape of non-zero sheep to give my thought substance! And I'm well aware of what zero pint(s) looks like in a glass.

Reminds me of an event in 1976(?) during the 'winter of our discontent' presided over by Callaghan (Crisis? What crisis>) when inflation was running at 26%, and the various unions were agitating for better pay increases, a member of a local gov. union in Manchester actually said on the TV news: " 7 percent of nothing is nothing. We want 12 percent!"

0
0
Silver badge

""This new distance record holder opens a window into the early universe, offering important new insights into how these stars explode," said astronomer David Jones of Johns Hopkins University"

Oh and why would David Jones want to know that? I can already tell the military would be interested in this line of research, can probably get these scientists to devise a new type of bomb to kill us with.

The problem with science these days is the huge ignorance inherent in it. If they really wanted to find out what's going on in this superbnova why aren't they sending a rover there? It's because there's no money in sending rovers to superbnovas. Scientists have to send things to mars to get funding these days and they won't want to risk shooting a cash cow that lays the golden eggs.

1
3
Joke

Surely you're joking Mr. Feynman

N3: "The problem with science these days is the huge ignorance inherent in it. If they really wanted to find out . . ."

You must be joking. If there ever was an expression of ignorance within this thread, that one surely would win the prize. There are so many levels on which that post is bunk, there really is no beginning nor end to pointing out the absence of both knowledge and wisdom.

0
0
Bronze badge
Trollface

Re: Surely you're joking Mr. Feynman

Don't worry NoiTall, NomNomNom is just trolling, and you took the bait.

0
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.