Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A Really Big Bang

About the largest thing in the Universe is a supernova. There are a couple of different types, and they all have different levels of energy, but the Chandra Observatory may have discovered a brand new classification.

This supernova was over one hundred times more powerful than any witnessed before and, according to the press release...
"That means the star that exploded might have been as massive as a star can get, about 150 times that of our sun. We've never seen that before."
-- Nathan Smith, UC Berkeley
They believe that what happened with this star is the same thing that could happen to the massive star Eta Carina, which is light years closer to us here on earth. This supernovas, cataloged as SN2006gy, was 240 million light years away in the galaxy NGC 1260. Eta Carina is only ~7500 light years away, and if - well, when - it blows, it could conceivably effect life here on earth.

You can read more about this in the Chandra Press Release.

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