back to article Nearest supernova since 1986 blasts boffin off her chair

Boffins across the world have united to study a young supernova just 21 million light years away, to help figure out more about the way that various chemical elements - including those making up our own bodies - are formed. The Palomar Transient Factory caught SN 2011fe in the Pinwheel Galaxy in the vicinity of the Big Dipper …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nearest supernova since when?

    "just 21 million light years away" ... "the nearest to Earth since 1986"

    But Supernova 1987 A, seen in 1987, was 179,000 light-years away, it says here: http://www.solstation.com/x-objects/sn1987a.htm

    Did I miss something?

    1. asdf Silver badge

      yeah was wondering

      Kind of a big oversight considering sn1987a is the most famous supernova in modern times.

      1. Grease Monkey

        And to be fair while it was observed after 1986 it happened a long, long time before then.

    2. Ugotta B. Kiddingme
      Boffin

      "Non-sequitor. Your facts are uncoordinated" *

      RTFA. According to the article you linked, Supernova 1987A was a different type as it originated from a supergiant, not a white dwarf. The article said this is the nearest Type 1a supernova (white dwarf with non-giant companion) since 1986. The information in your link supports the statement in this Reg article.

      * bonus points for the first person who can identify the titular quote.

      1. Bill Cumming
        Headmaster

        @ Ugotta B. Kiddingme

        Oi! Trekie

        You spelt "non-Sequitur" wrong in Nomad's quote.... ^_~

        1. Ugotta B. Kiddingme
          Pint

          @ Bill Cumming (or at least Bill Breathing Hard...)

          Beer for you and I stand corrected on spelling.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Non-sequitor(sic). Your facts are uncoordinated" *

        > RTFA.

        I did, twice actually. Might I respectfully suggest that you do so?

        > According to the article you linked, Supernova 1987A was a different type as it originated from a supergiant, not a white dwarf.

        Agreed.

        > The article said this is the nearest Type 1a supernova (white dwarf with non-giant companion) since 1986.

        No it didn't say that. I wondered whether that was meant, so I read it through again to check.

        To quote from the article, as of Friday 4:19pm, "The supernova, located in the Pinwheel Galaxy next to the Big Dipper, was the nearest to Earth since 1986".

        > The information in your link supports the statement in this Reg article.

        The statement that isn't there?

        > * bonus points for the first person who can identify the titular quote.

        or spell it.

        Have a nice day :-)

  2. smorr

    Boffins

    I just love the term "boffins"...I see it used in The Register quite often..too bad it hasn't ever caught on here in the US...

    1. ravenviz
      Happy

      Re: Boffins...

      I prefer Tefal-heads!

  3. pepper
    Coat

    In other news

    Supernova's found to be the main cause for falling scientists, and not the occasional gravity check as was once presumed.

    More at '8.

  4. AndrueC Silver badge
    Joke

    Corking headline, chaps!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    We are stardust ...

    ...we are golden. And we've got to get ourselves back to the garden.

    <--- Stoned ;-o

    1. Flybert
      Thumb Up

      slightly missed opportunity sir

      We are stardust

      Billion year old carbon

      We are golden

      Caught in the devils bargain

      And we've got to get ourselves

      Back to the garden

      Joni Mitchell

  6. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

    The neutrino timings will be interesting...

    1. amanfromearth

      Too late

      They passed here aeons ago.

  7. Brent Longborough
    Alert

    Bugger, that was a close one!

    The Man said...

  8. IE User
    WTF?

    Sure about those 20.000 km/h?

    that would even drop out of earth orbit. Good luck waiting for the speeding debris to reach a nearby star.

  9. Bounty

    Yes, but when did it's neutrino's arrive.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      WTF?

      Too far away

      Also, you can bet your wife they arrived ON TIME, and not A BIT earlier.

      Neutrinos are not ÜberGermans!

    2. TeeCee Gold badge

      Good point. Now we know it's there, all we need to do is look for them arriving before the light. To measure this, we just need to go back in time.............ah..........hang on.........

    3. Mark Hewitt

      Neutrinos would have arrived with the first light. The analysis will come out of the neutrino instrument logs.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "even our own bodies"...

    ...sums up the terrible habit humans have of seeing themselves as something APART from the place in which they live.

    1. ravenviz
      Facepalm

      Re: "even our own bodies"...

      There are elements.

      - Oh.

      They make up everything in the Universe.

      - Wow.

      Even People.

      - Wait, are you sure?

  11. Poeteye
    Mushroom

    NEBULAE

    -- James Ph. Kotsybar

    The remnants of supernovae disperse

    behemoth art, when stars annihilate.

    “Sombrero”, “Crab” and “Horseshead” populate

    the gallery of our known universe.

    There’s “Ant,” “Tarantula”, and Pelican.”

    There’s “Eagle” and “Pillars Of Creation,”

    and even one called “Big Running Chicken.”

    One slightly resembles our great nation.

    These interstellar Rorschach tests reveal

    the shapes we recognize within our world,

    like “Hamburger,” “Butterfly” and “Pinwheel,”

    but they are the guts of stars that are hurled.

    Each may have destroyed some sentient race,

    but, “Look! It’s like a pretty rose in space!”

    1. ravenviz
      FAIL

      "One slightly resembles our great nation"

      The only one I could find that looks vaguely like any 'country' at all is NGC7000, the North America nebula. And even that looks like a continent.

  12. Francis Boyle Silver badge
    Coat

    Boffin chair blasting

    Great fun for the boffin.

    Less fun for the Trazabentigarnos whose stay this used to be.

    Mine's the one with the collected works of Arthur C. Clarke in the pocket.

  13. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    I observed this supernova for weeks

    I got it with my 8" scope when it was at magnitude 11 (100x fainter than what the eye can see) and climbing, followed it through its maximum at mag 10 (visible in binoculars), and back down to just mag 13 (630 fainter than the naked eye kan see). It was amazing. The kids also had a peak and did their best to wake the neighbours with their shouts of "We've seen a supernova! We've seen a supernova! We've seen a supernova!"

    Really neat to see such a bright one. It is odd to think all heavier atoms in your body were forged in the furnace of the core of a star, and that everyone is a supernova remnant.

  14. UK Evil Homer

    Just 21 Million light years?

    Makes me feel small, very very very small

    1. ravenviz
      Joke

      It's cold out observing...

  15. PsychoHippy
    Trollface

    When are the article writers going to start using correct SI units? I don't want to know these fancy 'light year' distances, I want to know how many double decker bus lengths it is!

    Oh, and while I'm at it, what exactly is 'the big dipper'?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    But Vauxhall Novas were quite small

    Vauxhall Novas were quite small. The saloon was slightly larger with the boot....

    Oh *super* Nova. Ahhhh

  17. White_Wolf

    is it type 1a or la?

    "What's interesting about that is that Type Ia supernovae were the ones used in the 90s to calculate the expansion of the universe, and they're also used in the search for dark matter."

    I only ask as in another reg article it states that its type 1a that is used to calculate the expansion of the universe.

    "First, it's a Type 1a supernova, especially interesting to astronomers because..."

    (see http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/08/26/type_1a_ptf_11kly_supernova_discovered/page2.html)

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      It's a bloody good bang is it what it is.

      Paris for obvious reasons although unlike a supernova you can hear her banging away.

  18. arcanine
    Meh

    You keep spelling scientist wrong, "boffin" is not how you spell scientist.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re:

      It is around these parts, amigo.

      C.

  19. ratfox Silver badge
    Angel

    It's a miracle we exist, innit?

    See title.

    1. ravenviz
      Happy

      No, just random chance!

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