Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Space Science

Powerful Supernova May Be Related To Death Spasms of First Stars 136

Posted by Zonk
from the we-need-a-few-more-heavy-elements-out-here dept.
necro81 writes "The New York Times is reporting on a discovery from a team of UC Berkley researchers, who may have discovered the brightest stellar explosion ever observed. Observations of the cataclysmic explosion of a 100- to 200-solar-mass star began last September, based on data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory. The researchers believe that the explosion is similar to the death spasms of the first stars in the universe. The super-massive star's collapse is believed to have been so energetic as to create unstable electron-positron pairs that tore the star apart before it could collapse into a black hole — seeding the universe with heavier elements."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Powerful Supernova May Be Related To Death Spasms of First Stars

Comments Filter:
  • Is there a time-lapse video of this somewhere? The article I read only had an artist's rendering. Or when they say "observed" are they just talking about measurements?
    • Re:Time-lapse video? (Score:5, Informative)

      by ls -la (937805) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @11:04AM (#19037119) Journal
      As far as I can tell from the articles, most of the observation was through means other than the optical spectrum pictures you're looking for (e.g. x-ray and IR pictures, spectroscopy, etc.). In fact, this supernova was so far away (240 million light years) that I'm not sure they could see it through optical telescopes. Most of a supernova's radiation (especially in something this violent) is emitted in the gamma ray range.
      • Re:Time-lapse video? (Score:5, Informative)

        by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @11:45AM (#19037711)
        Indeed. The best images are from the Chandra [harvard.edu] X-ray observatory. They have some animations here [harvard.edu].
        • by thewils (463314)
          I really like the 'camera-shake' introduced to the animation. Real Star Trek stuff there :)
      • Re:Time-lapse video? (Score:4, Informative)

        by p_trekkie (597206) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @11:51AM (#19037795) Homepage

        Most of a supernova's radiation (especially in something this violent) is emitted in the gamma ray range.


        Actually, most of the radiation comes out as neutrinos. Only 1% comes out in forms we can detect at all...
        • by MollyB (162595) *
          "Actually, most of the radiation [from supernovae] comes out as neutrinos. Only 1% comes out in forms we can detect at all..."

          Not pretending to be anything but an interested layperson, but how does your response square with this excerpt from Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]?

          Type I versus Type II

          A fundamental difference between Type I and Type II supernovae is the source of energy for the radiation emitted near the peak of the light curve. The progenitors of Type II supernovae are stars with extended envelopes that can attain a degree of transparency with a relatively small amount of expansion. Most of the energy powering the emission at peak light is derived from the shock wave that heats and ejects the envelope.[57]

          The progenitors of Type I supernovae, on the other hand, are compact objects, much smaller (but more massive) than the Sun, that must expand (and therefore cool) enormously before becoming transparent. Heat from the explosion is dissipated in the expansion and is not available for light production. The radiation emitted by Type I supernovae is thus entirely attributable to the decay of radionuclides produced in the explosion; principally nickel-56 (with a half-life of 6.1 days) and its daughter cobalt-56 (with a half-life of 77 days). Gamma rays emitted during this nuclear decay are absorbed by the ejected material, heating it to incandescence.

          As the material ejected by a Type II supernova expands and cools, radioactive decay eventually takes over as the main energy source for light emission in this case also. A bright Type Ia supernova may expel 0.5-1.0 solar masses of nickel-56,[58] while a Type Ib, Ic or Type II supernova probably ejects closer to 0.1 solar mass of nickel-56.

          Thanks in advance for advancing my understanding. Apologies if there is anything akin to an apples/oranges misunderstanding at the base of my query...

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by p_trekkie (597206)

            Type I versus Type II

            A fundamental difference between Type I and Type II supernovae is the source of energy for the radiation emitted near the peak of the light curve. The progenitors of Type II supernovae are stars with extended envelopes that can attain a degree of transparency with a relatively small amount of expansion. Most of the energy powering the emission at peak light is derived from the shock wave that heats and ejects the envelope.[57]

            The progenitors of Type I supernovae, on the other hand,

          • by imsabbel (611519)
            This is attributing the light curve, i.e. the detectable energy emission.
            The neutrinos escape the first seconds, long before the weeks the fireball may need to get transparent enough for most radiation.
            • Re:Time-lapse video? (Score:4, Informative)

              by imsabbel (611519) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @02:06PM (#19039789)
              Also:
              "
              The core implodes at velocities reaching 70,000 km/s (0.23c),[40] resulting in a rapid increase in temperature and density. Through photodissociation, gamma rays decompose the iron into helium nuclei and free neutrons. The conditions also cause electrons and protons to merge through inverse beta decay, producing neutrons and electron neutrinos. About 1046 joules of gravitational energy are converted into a ten-second burst of neutrinos.[41] These carry away energy from the core and accelerate the collapse, while some neutrinos are absorbed by the star's outer layers and begin the supernova explosion.[42]

              The inner core eventually reaches a density comparable to that of an atomic nucleus, where the collapse is halted. The infalling matter then rebounds, producing a shock wave that propagates outward. This expanding shock can stall in the outer core as energy is lost through the dissociation of heavy elements. However, through a process that is not clearly understood, the shock reabsorbs 1044 Joules[a] (1 foe) of energy, producing an explosion.[43]"

              You might have stumbled upon this part of the article while getting to the part you quoted. 10^44 joule ->explosion, 10^46 joule -> neutrino burst.
              ->only 1% is visible.
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by MollyB (162595) *
                Many thanks to you & the OP. You (both) are very tactful, as I skimmed right past the relevant Wiki section you noted so graciously. I'll try to do more exhaustive research before jumping in with questions next time.
                • by Nuffsaid (855987)

                  Thanks in advance for advancing my understanding. Apologies if there is anything akin to an apples/oranges misunderstanding at the base of my query...

                  Many thanks to you & the OP. You (both) are very tactful, as I skimmed right past the relevant Wiki section you noted so graciously. I'll try to do more exhaustive research before jumping in with questions next time.

                  Watch out! This kind of language is grossly inappropriate both here and on most Internet forum. Your politeness won't be tolerated for long.

                  • I'm so tired of people trying to outshout each other on most forums. When do the know-it-all's find time to learn anything new, anyway? Thanks for the warning, but all they can do is call me bad names (so what?) and toss F-bombs in garbled 1337. Plus, if you'd like more civility in the world, what better place to start than at home? I know this will gag the cynics, but "Do As Ye Would Be Done By" is powerful stuff if a critical mass is reached, I would suppose. Got my tinfoil dunce-cap in the event a Vibe/S
                    • by imsabbel (611519)
                      You should watch out, for real.
                      Your tone was so over-polite it practically seemed to ooze sarcasm.
                      I was seriously thinking you were trolling, so i was a bit harsher than usual.
                    • by Nuffsaid (855987)
                      Actually, my comment was meant to be ironic. Not toward your unusual politeness, but toward the tones most commonly used here and on most forums ("fora"?). I totally agree with you about the need for some kindness in any constructive dialogue.
                      Ok, now I'm the one wandering offtopic...
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Tablizer (95088)
      Is there a time-lapse video of this somewhere? The article I read only had an artist's rendering. Or when they say "observed" are they just talking about measurements?

      Be veeery careful when asking for images on slashdot of anything that explodes, bursts, or has holes in it.
           
  • by Red Flayer (890720) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @10:49AM (#19036831) Journal
    Great summary. Lots of informative links, accurate and intriguing summary of the article(s). No gratuitous inflammatory question.

    Someone pinch me, I think I'm dreaming.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Look, though! there's an off-topic post!!!
    • Well, to nitpick, the summary could have credited the grad student from Univ. of Texas that made the actual discovery instead of leaving UT out completely.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by BlackSnake112 (912158)
        "University of Texas graduate student Robert Quimby first observed the supernova on Sept. 18, 2006 in the galaxy NGC 1260, located in the constellation Perseus. Filippenko's team immediately began observing it with its dedicated supernova search and monitor telescope at Lick, the Katzman Automatic Imaging Telescope." They did, if you RTFA
      • Except that the articles were about the research done by the guys at UCal Berkeley who presented some of their findings yesterday.

        If the articles had been about the discovery of a supernova, then I'd agree with you -- but they are about the type of supernova it is, and the implications of that -- which was discovered by the UCal Berkeley guys.
    • And it's not a dupe.
      Oh, Slashdot has already covered the supernova, back in January.
      not a dupe [slashdot.org]
      What's new is the mainstream media like the new york times finding out about it.
      • Go ahead and read the articles linked to in the summary, then go back and read the one from January. Same supernova, completely different articles with new information based on new research. Oh, but that would mean you'd have to RTFA, right?
  • Oddity (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tomstdenis (446163) <tomstdenis@SLACK ... com minus distro> on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @10:52AM (#19036875) Homepage
    They talk at the end about a star 7500 LY away that might "go supernova soon." It should probably be pointed out that it could have already gone supernova 6000 years ago and we'd not know about it.

    I guess they should say "might see if it went supernova soon."

    Tom
    • Re:Oddity (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Nos. (179609) <andrew@@@thekerrs...ca> on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @11:10AM (#19037205) Homepage
      I think this is getting a bit pedantic. Sure, the light takes 7500 years to get here, thus it could have gone supernova quite some time ago, and the astronomers know this. It doesn't mean we have to speak about everything having occurred in the past... its all relative.
    • E.L.E (Score:4, Interesting)

      by TheSciBoy (1050166) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @11:23AM (#19037393)
      What I found interesting was that Eta Carinae apparently behaves the same way as the other star, which begs the question: could we survive the supernova? The explosions of stars certainly are powerful enough to destroy such delicate lives as ours if they are close enough. Question is, is Eta Carinae close enough?

      Now that's an Extinction Level Event.

      "Ooh! Aaah!" dead

      • by Gilmoure (18428)
        Was wondering about that myself. Do we need to start building a scrith ring edge on with Eta Carradine?
        • Was wondering about that myself. Do we need to start building a scrith ring edge on with Eta Carradine?

          Great. One more thing to worry about with Eta Carradine [wikipedia.org]. Wait, what were we talking about?
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by OldSoldier (168889)
        Yes and no. Astronomers have been wondering about Eta Carinae for awhile. It appears that it can produce "gamma ray bursts" that are powerful enough to wipe out life even here, 7500 light years away, but current thinking is that GRBs are focused events, gamma rays streaming along the magnetic axis of the exploding star and fortunately Eta Carinae's axes are not pointed in our direction.

        I'm not endorsing this link http://people.roma2.infn.it/~aldo/dar01.pdf [roma2.infn.it] but it does corroborate what I've heard on TV scien
      • Some articles have comments about this (AP, maybe?) that basically said the only significant risk was a burst of concentrated gamma radiation that just happened to hit us, but the actual odds were really, really small. Looks like to really hit the earth hard, a supernova would have to be within 100 light years or so, with a type II supernova having to occur within 25 or 26 light-years to destroy half the ozone layer.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Frozen Void (831218)
          Its not so clear.
          1.It depends on how much matter is dispersed between us and the supernova(plasma,dust,stars,etc)
          2.The estimate of mass and star composition are correct.
          3.The mechanism of supernova production is well understood.(not really:the electron-positron pair supernova is new)
          4.GRB angle.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SN_2006gy [wikipedia.org]
          Similarity to Eta Carinae

          Eta Carinae ( Carinae or Car) is a highly luminous hypergiant star located approximately 7,500 light years from Earth in the Milky Way galaxy. It is est
      • "Begs the question" actually means "assumes".

        For example, the question, "Will we survive the blast from Eta Carinae's supernova event?" begs the question that Eta Carinae has had a supernova event. We don't actually know whether or not Eta Carinae has exploded, but the question here assumes that it has and moves on. Begging the question is considered a logical fallacy, because it assumes something without proving it, and then bases further reasoning on that unproven assumption.

        You're thinking of "raising th
    • Re:Oddity (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JesseL (107722) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @11:27AM (#19037455) Homepage Journal
      Your post is based on the flawed premise that there exists some kind of objective time.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by linzeal (197905)
        Also known as, Minkowski Space [wikipedia.org].
      • There is no need to get all metaphysical. Let's resolve this by posing this question in easy-to-understand terms.

        Suppose, shortly after the Big Bang, two good christians synchronized their watches and made a suicide pact for a specific time in the future. As the universe expanded and matter flew apart, one of these people ended on a planet circling the star in question, and the other ended on Earth.

        When their watches reach suicide time, and they both kill themselves, do their souls arrive in heaven simultan
        • by JesseL (107722)
          The answer to your question depends on where heaven (or hell) is located in relation to the space-time continuum of our universe. I would suggest that heaven exists (if it exists) in a disconnected continuum from our own and whatever mechanism allows souls to travel from here to there isn't limited to any particular spatial or temporal coordinates in either realm.

          I would guess that everybody that dies arrives in heaven (or hell) at the same time, no waiting for anybody.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ls -la (937805)

      I guess they should say "might see if it went supernova soon."

      We know information cannot travel faster than the speed of light (or if you prefer, cannot reach outside the light-cone [wikipedia.org] of the event). So if an event "happens" 7500 light years away, did it really happen before the light reaches us? In some sense, an event has not happened until we are inside its light-cone.
      Perhaps it "happens" when its light-cone intersects ours? The question with this interpretation is, where does our light-cone start?

      T

      • by AlXtreme (223728)

        So if an event "happens" 7500 light years away, did it really happen before the light reaches us?

        How about we ask the 10-legged 8-eyed blue/green alien that got obliterated because his planet was circling that supernova?

        Sorry, but these silly smart-sounding 'If a tree in the forest fell, but no one heard it fall, did it really make a sound?'-rhetorical questions irk me. The squirrel on who's head that tree fell doesn't give a crap if it made a sound. Think of the squirrels!

        • How about we ask the 10-legged 8-eyed blue/green alien that got obliterated because his planet was circling that supernova?


          Since the time for information from the alien about the supernova to reach us is at least as long information from the supernova itself, that doesn't really change the problem, even ignoring the problem of asking.

      • We know information cannot travel faster than the speed of light
        Do we really? How about spooky action at a distance [csmonitor.com]? Quantum entanglement enables the transmission of information instantaneously.
        • by JesseL (107722)

          Quantum entanglement enables the transmission of information instantaneously.
          No, it doesn't.

          Pretty much everything I have ever read about quantum entanglement is careful to point out that it does not enable information to propagate faster than light.
          • Doesn't enable useful information to be transmitted FTL, because by itself quantum states mean nothing -- eg, entangled objects must be coupled to a classic information channel, which is the rate-limiting step.

            However, information itself that is limited to the status of the entangled objects can indeed be transmitted FTL. This is partly semantic, since such data is not always considered information per se, since it cannot have meaning outside of the entangled objects.
    • Re:Oddity (Score:5, Informative)

      by Orange Crush (934731) * on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @11:33AM (#19037535)
      There is no such thing as synchronicity in this universe. Cause travels at the speed of light (or slower), gravity and relative velocity alter time and quantum states are ambiguous until observed. That star has a high probability of already having gone supernova, but this is meaningless in our frame of reference until the event is observable.
      • by cdrudge (68377)

        but this is meaningless in our frame of reference until the event is observable.
        So if I cheat on my wife, until she observes it it doesn't mean anything? Hmmm...
        • So if I cheat on my wife, until she observes it it doesn't mean anything? Hmmm...

          Until observed, it's just a probability. However, considering this is Slashdot, I believe the probability of you having both a wife and a mistress is quite low.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by profplump (309017)
      That's only true if you assume that two distant points share the same timescale -- a relativist might argue that "now, far away" is the same moment in time as "here, long ago", at least baring the discovery of macro-scale faster-than-light causation. That is to say, while an observer near the supernova might have seen the explosion long ago, his "long ago" and your "now" may be the same moment, not just two different perspectives of the same event that happened long ago with respect to all observers.

      Beside
    • by internic (453511)

      Sure, that's a reasonable thing to say. But while we're being pedantic, we could also point out that it's all relative. Since the event of the explosion has a space-like separation from the events occurring on Earth now (e.g. the post), the time ordering of the events is different in different inertial frames of reference [everything2.com]. Thus, it may not have happened yet, or it may already have happened, depending on whom you ask (specifically, what reference frame they're in). Still, I'll grant you that in the inst

    • by inviolet (797804)

      I guess they should say "might see if it went supernova soon."

      You should have consulted Dr. Dan Streetmentioner's "Handbook of 1001 Tense Formations". If you had, you would know that the correct way to phrase the idea would be: "might seeon if it golo supernova insooner".

  • Eta Carinae (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tiluki (74844) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @10:59AM (#19037013)
    What is more impressive about this story is the footnote of similar activity recently exhibited by Eta Carinae - a much closer star to us (well, 7500 light years). To quote the BBC article http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6633609.stm [bbc.co.uk]:

    Dave Pooley, at the University of California at Berkeley, said if Eta Carinae were to explode "it would be so bright that you would see it during the day, and you could even read a book by its light at night". Eta Carinae's death could be "the most spectacular star show in history."
    Is it just me, or does that sound a little bit too close...
    • by CmdrGravy (645153)
      I was interested by that too, it doesn't really say what they mean by soon though which when you're talking about galactic events can mean anything from really soon ( next week ) to in a couple of million years.

      Personally I'd love to see this, provided of course that it wasn't the last thing I ever saw, very briefly.
    • Re:Eta Carinae (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jugalator (259273) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @11:09AM (#19037193) Journal
      It's not too bad unless we'd be unlucky and have a gamma radiation burst from it heading towards us.
      From here [freeinternetpress.com]:

      The potential danger comes from the fact that explosions of massive stars generally emit jets of intense gamma radiation, among the most powerful and harmful forces in the universe. If Eta Carinae did explode and a jet was pointed in the general direction of the solar system, Livio said, Earth could be endangered. But because the gamma-ray jets tend to be relatively narrow, like the beam of a lighthouse, the odds are that the jet would miss Earth.

      So it's not too bad, it would probably just miss us.

      :-/

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by secPM_MS (1081961)
        Eta Carinae is a Luminous Blue Variable, a very massive star (~ 80 to 120 Msolar) that is quite unstable. Last century it ejected ~ 10 solar masses of material. It is also a binary star, with a companion estimated to be ~ 80 solar masses or so. The orbit is significantly inclined from our point of view, so the spin axis is not pointed at all towards us, which is very fortunate indeed. I seem to remember one article a year or so ago that estimated that Eta Carinae was spinning at ~ 90 % of its breakup speed.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Pair creation supernovae were predicted decades ago. The conditions for their formation are a bit strict and they do not appear to be very common at this point. Black hole creation is probably must more common.

          If you neglect angular momentum (i.e., for only moderately rotating stars), the current predictions are that pair creation supernovae are the normal mechanism for stars with a low metalicity and immediately pre-supernova mass from about 140 to about 260 solar masses. If you look at the webpage in the

      • by Belial6 (794905)
        Wouldn't that just give us all super powers? And if so, what are the odds of getting invisibility as opposed to being turned into a giant green monster that likes to smash?
    • by Detritus (11846)
      I wonder about that every time a scientist is quoted as saying that a particular supernova was as bright as the combined brightness of the other stars in the parent galaxy. What happens to us if that occurs in our corner of the galaxy? I think there has been some speculation that some past mass extinctions on Earth could have been caused by bursts of radiation from sources outside the solar system.
    • Re:Eta Carinae (Score:5, Informative)

      by vrmlguy (120854) <samwyse&gmail,com> on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @11:28AM (#19037475) Homepage Journal
      First, Eta Carinae is not visible to anyone north of 27 N, so in the US only people in or south of Miami will see it. In Africa, you basically have to be in a country that doesn't touch the Mediterranean Sea; while in Asia every country touching the Indian Ocean will see it, but not China or Japan. Among English-speaking countries, only Austrailia will have a great view, but the ozone layer will protect them (and the rest of the Southern Hemisphere) from direct radiation. "Scientists at NASA and Kansas University have determined that the supernova would need to be within 26 light years from Earth to significantly damage the ozone layer and allow cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation to saturate the Earth's surface. An encounter with a supernova that close only happens at a rate of about once in 670 million years(...) The new calculations are based largely on advances in atmospheric modeling, analysis of gamma rays produced by a supernova in 1987 called SN1987a, and a better understanding of galactic supernova locations and rates. A supernova is an explosion of a star at least twice as massive as our Sun." [nasa.gov] Since Eta Carinae is 300 times that distance, its blast wound need to be 90,000 times as energetic to be dangerous. A hypernova is about 100 times more powerful than a supernova, so there's plenty of margin of safety there.
      • by Thuktun (221615)
        Your analysis appears to be using the figures for a regular supernova and extrapolating upwards. A gamma ray burst or a hypernova are different animals. A hypothetical GRB at a distance of 500 light years, about 20 times the distance you mentioned for a supernova, would be considered "nearby" and has been suggested as a plausible extintion event in our planet's history.
        • by vrmlguy (120854)
          Hypernovas, like supernovas, seem to radiate a lot of their energy equally in all directions. The manner in which that energy is generated doesn't really matter, just the distribution, so a hypernova more than 260 light-years away won't be a big threat. A gamma ray burst, OTOH, radiates most of its energy in two diametrically opposed narrow cones aligned along the star's rotational axis. If such a beam happened to be aimed towards earth, then yes it could be quite deadly at great distances, but the odds
  • Boom? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Jugalator (259273) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @11:03AM (#19037093) Journal
    Big badaboom!

  • by u-bend (1095729) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @11:08AM (#19037177) Homepage Journal
    Here's the NASA article about it. [nasa.gov]
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by john83 (923470)

      Here's the paper about it [arxiv.org].

      From the abstract:
      We report our discovery and early observations of the peculiar Type IIn supernova SN 2006gy... It is not yet clear what powers the enormous luminosity ... but we argue that any known mechanism ... requires a very massive progenitor star... SN 2006gy is the first supernova for which we have good reason to suspect a pair-instability explosion... SN 2006gy also suggests that the most massive stars can create brilliant supernovae instead of dying ignominious deaths

  • It's Berkeley, not Berkley.
  • by MHz-Man (1066086) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @11:32AM (#19037527)
    It was a precursor bomb! Looks like someone's copying the Shofixti's tactics.
  • Does anybody know any resource that lists how most likely all the elements originated from stable baryons and electrons, including chains like element1->element2+element3 (fusion) -> element4 (fission) -> element5,element6 with estimates of conditions necessary for each transition to happen?
  • The SN 2006gy data suggest that spectacular supernovas from the first stars - rather than completely collapsing to a black hole as theorized - may be more common than previously believed.

    From my memory (most likely faulty - I'm sure of getting correction from this group ;)) of supernovae processes, I seem to recall that when there's a sudden energy output drop (typically due to running out of one fusion fuel, such as C/N/O in a red giant), stellar collapse begins; this collapse may be halted by increased

  • To "Powerful Supernova May Be Related To Death", which I thought was a bit weird.
  • by phrostie (121428) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @01:55PM (#19039615)
    in the space.com article on this they mention that our own MilkyWay has a star about to go SuperMasive Nova at any time called Eta Carinae. Eta Carinae is about 7000 light years away so they say we are safe, but the Nova from last September eventually became brighter than it's own galaxy. So what i )BÇm wondering is even if we are safe from debris from this soon-to-be nova, what about an EMP from it?
  • by Dasher42 (514179) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @02:22PM (#19040081)
    Do we know that 200 solar mass stars can exist within the Eddington limit [wikipedia.org]? To summarize, higher mass will increase the energy output of the star's fusion reactions, and there's a point where this can more than counter the force of gravity. How would a star exceed this? Are collisions or mass accretion from another object likely?
  • Old News... (Score:4, Funny)

    by rthille (8526) <web-slashdot@r[ ]at.org ['ang' in gap]> on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @02:51PM (#19040579) Homepage Journal

    Slashdot, 240 million years behind the times.

    (I should probably post this anonymously :-)
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The New York Times is reporting on a discovery from a team of UC Berkley researchers, who may have discovered the brightest stellar explosion ever observed.
    causing the tragic end of the vibrant Kryptonian civilization.

    seeding the universe with heavier elements.
    Hmm...didn't they recently discover Kryptonite. Co-incidence?

  • We'll likely never know how many populated worlds were destroyed from the gamma ray burst. But all life "nearby" would have been instantly killed.

Kill Ugly Processor Architectures - Karl Lehenbauer

Working...