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Space Science

Mystery of an Ancient Super Nova Solved 96

Posted by Soulskill
from the it-was-his-sled dept.
Bob the Super Hamste writes "The BBC is reporting that the mystery of a supernova seen almost 2000 years ago has been solved. The supernova RCW 86 was observed in 185AD by Chinese astronomers and was visible for eight months. Recently scientists have wondered how the supernova grew so big. By combining data from the Chandra X-ray telescope and the XMM-Newton Observatory with recent images from NASA's Spitzer and Wide-field Infrared Survey telescopes, scientists have figured out that the supernova expanded into a relatively empty bubble of space. These empty bubbles of space are typically associated with a core collapse supernova, but the core remnant is high in iron, which instead is associated with a type 1A supernova. The findings are published in The Astrophysical Journal."
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Mystery of an Ancient Super Nova Solved

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  • A certain planet from a galaxy far far away
  • Wouldnt be it the one named in that tale from A.C.Clarke? Wouldnt be so surprising if early church record dates were adjusted to give a bit more "magic" to its origins.
    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      Probably not. Modern scholarship seems to mostly be of the opinion that any kind of notable star around 4 BCE (which is when we currently think Jesus might have been born) would most likely have been not a star at all, but a comet.

      But in any event, the Clarke story by that name is fantastic.

      • Re:The Star (Score:4, Informative)

        by catmistake (814204) on Tuesday October 25, 2011 @04:59PM (#37836866) Journal
        Nope, it is a star. The mythology behind the birth of Christ is far older than Christianity, as Horus, Krishna, and many others, all have the same basic birth/martre story. The star is Sirius. The "Three Kings" are the prominent stars in Orion's Belt. On December 25th, the Three Kings (stars) "follow" Sirius... they always line up, but on Dec. 25th, they point at the spot where the Sun rises. Looks like all these religions that have the same outline of a mythology all have a common source in some unknown early agrarian society. I'm not sure what problem these BCE/CE secularists have with agriculture... it is a calendar, after all, and what better way to build a calendar than by using the clockwork of the cosmos to tell us when to plant and harvest?
        • by Anonymous Coward
          nice explanation of that here [youtube.com], a very nice and tidy analysis... however, their conclusions do not quite follow. Only recently has "myth" become synonamous with "lie." A mythology is not something one should apply a truth value to, because when you do, you are missing the whole point. Think of it the way Carl Jung and Joseph Campell have suggested, that a mythology is a social dream, and a dream is a personal mythology. In a way, at the roots of these mythologies, it always must be true, because it is an exp
          • A mythology is not something one should apply a truth value to, because when you do, you are missing the whole point ... I believe we have lost our collective identity due to misinterpretations of mythologies as literal and from secular pressure.

            The "secular pressure" is solely in response to pressure from people who do believe in the myth as literal fact. If you want to interpret the story of Jesus' birth as a Jungian / Campbellian "social dream," that's fine, but that's not how most believers intepret it -- nor is there any reason to believe that they ever have, from the days of Peter and Paul to the present.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            A mythology is not something one should apply a truth value to, because when you do, you are missing the whole point.

            Thankyou for perfectly describing the entire religion of Christianity. And most others, as well.

            Now, if the followers would understand this, we would not be having "debates" about teaching "Intelligent Design" in schools, they would not feel that science is trying to disprove God, Evolution would not be controversial, and Catholics would be able to use birth control.

            Sadly, that's not the case. As far as they are concerned, if it's not 100% down-to-earth solid fact, then it's a Lie. So you just called their

            • Sadly, that's not the case. As far as they are concerned, if it's not 100% down-to-earth solid fact, then it's a Lie. So you just called their God a lie by implying that the facts disagree with their preconceived notions of Divinity and Reality.

              Not at all. And in fact we can expect another solar deity with the same story within the next 500 years or so as these characters show up once an age, like clockwork. Jesus said his successor will be carrying jugs of water. Its not a joke, look at the procession of the equinoxes... "this is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius!"

        • by ceoyoyo (59147)

          CE proponents don't have anything against agriculture (they're not advocating changing the calendar). In modern times CE was used by people who, for religious reasons, didn't want to refer to Jesus as their lord every time they wrote a date. Many people who are not religious kind of feel the same way.

        • The CE thing has nothing to do with hating agriculture, that assertion is pretty odd, I don't know how you arrive at that conclusion. It's about getting away from referring to God every time you write a date, namely, Anno Domini and Before Christ.

          Even many Christians don't believe Jesus was born on Dec 25. They often think of it is Jesus' birth observed. Besides, a star that lines up with the sun every year would contradict the story a bit. If it happened every year, the Magi wouldn't have had any reason

      • Probably not. Modern scholarship seems to mostly be of the opinion that any kind of notable star around 4 BCE (which is when we currently think Jesus might have been born) would most likely have been not a star at all, but a comet.

        Another different theory says that the "wise" men from the East were actually astrologers. The star or cosmic event was actually something on their astrology charts which told them about some significant event happening in Palestine. When you have Herod's court mentioning they didn't notice anything in the sky...it was nothing more than astrology being used.

        Not giving it any more credence than any other theory...but whichever is true...Jesus was born about this time.

        • by turgid (580780)

          Another different theory says that the "wise" men from the East were actually astrologers. The star or cosmic event was actually something on their astrology charts which told them about some significant event happening in Palestine. When you have Herod's court mentioning they didn't notice anything in the sky...it was nothing more than astrology being used.

          So he's not the messiah, then, he's a very naughty boy?

      • Actually, the best theory is that the "star" was a particular conjuction of planets that the astrologers of the region around Babylon would have taken to indicate that a particularly significant royal figure had been born in Israel/Judea/Palestine (it is unclear to me from the several articles I have seen on the subject what those astrologers would have referred to the region as--although it is improbable that they would have used the last as not even the Romans were using it yet at that time). Interestingl
  • by Dastardly (4204) on Tuesday October 25, 2011 @07:09PM (#37838506)

    It probably should just say remnant. Type 1a supernova are the complete destruction of a white dwarf by nuclear fusion of a substantial portion of the white dwarf's mass, which does not leave behind a core.

    • by osu-neko (2604)

      Indeed, TFA reads:

      However, the case is not closed for RCW 86; these cavities are associated only with what are called core-collapse supernovas, but the Chandra and XMM-Newton observations show evidence of a great deal of iron in the remnant - associated instead with Type 1A supernovas.

      The phrase in the /. summary, "...but the core remnant is high in iron..." appears to be the invention of the submitter, and does not appear in the original article.

      • Correct. Iron cores are associated with Type Ib/Ic & Type II core-collapse supernovae. Type Ia supernovae typically originate with carbon-oxygen white dwarfs that have only their primordial iron abundance.

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