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Space Science

'Instant Cosmic Classic' Supernova Discovered 141

chill sends this quote from a news release by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory: "A supernova discovered yesterday is closer to Earth — approximately 21 million light-years away—than any other of its kind in a generation. Astronomers believe they caught the supernova within hours of its explosion, a rare feat made possible with a specialized survey telescope and state-of-the-art computational tools. 'We caught this supernova very soon after explosion. PTF 11kly is getting brighter by the minute. It’s already 20 times brighter than it was yesterday,' said Peter Nugent, the senior scientist at Berkeley Lab who first spotted the supernova. ... the supernova is still getting brighter, and might even be visible with good binoculars in ten days’ time, appearing brighter than any other supernova of its type in the last 30 years."
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'Instant Cosmic Classic' Supernova Discovered

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  • Re:Astounding! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slim ( 1652 ) <john.hartnup@net> on Friday August 26, 2011 @09:13AM (#37217874) Homepage

    I'm not a physicist, but I'm given to understand that it's a valid way to look at the universe -- so say something is happening "now" when "now" is the earliest you could detect it given the speed of light.

  • Re:Astounding! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Friday August 26, 2011 @09:52AM (#37218234) Homepage Journal
    Neither am I, but I'm having to deal with a lot of time and space recently. Even the light we observe from the sun is 8 minutes old. To add insult to injury, gravity has an effect on the rate at which time runs, so an atomic clock at sea level will start to diverge from an atomic clock on a mountain. And our sensory data has a non-zero processing time. All of which makes it astoundingly difficult to even find out when "now" is, much less use that information for anything before it becomes "then."
  • Re:whoop-de-doo (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AlecC ( 512609 ) <> on Friday August 26, 2011 @10:00AM (#37218328)

    What's nice here is how quickly it was accidentally discovered. That will be helpful for studying.

    It was no accident: it was discovered by a system specifically set up to do a search of the sky every night looking for changes just like this, It is modern computer-assisted observations that made this possible: computers will do the tedious task of looking at the same bit of sky over and over again looking for changes.

  • Re:Astounding! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by owlstead ( 636356 ) on Friday August 26, 2011 @10:02AM (#37218356)

    "It is quite easy to exceed c in water, for example."

    I'll take you up on that. Crate of beer?

"It's when they say 2 + 2 = 5 that I begin to argue." -- Eric Pepke