Our galactic neighbor: Andromeda

The Andromeda Galaxy (M31) taken with a 71/347mm telescope.

Also known as M31, Andromeda galaxy is the nearest congregation to the earth with 2.5 million light years of distance. Like the Milky Way (the galaxy of which the solar system and sun are part), Andromeda has the same shape of a spiral and was discovered in the 20’ for the astronomer Edwin Hubble. He confirmed that Andromeda was a galaxy and not a cloud as many believe.

Andromeda galaxy is stunning with more stars than the Milky Way. You can see it easily with the naked eye from the earth and its name is was given thanks to its position in the constellation of Andromeda. Far from being a spectacular sight of the sky, this galaxy is a massive, turbulent spot on the cosmos. In fact, is expected that Andromeda collides with the Milky Way in 4 billion years. The Andromeda galaxy is coming to us at 400000 kilometers per hour which is fast enough to start planning any scape, right?

Despite the future war between our planet and Andromeda, experts believe that our planet will survive the collision. Why? Because galaxies are made of empty space which is mostly harmless to us. Our universe is infinite and our beautiful earth is hanging there between numberless of things we ignore about.

When is the best time to look for the Andromeda galaxy? You can see at least a small part of the galaxy every night, all year long. But the M31 shines beautifully between September and October in the eastern sky. Winter evenings are also a great opportunity to appreciate our neighbor.

  • Here you have some beautiful quotes about the universe you should read if you’re a fanatic of our world as we do:
  • “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” Albert Einstein.
  • “I’m sure the universe is full of intelligent life. It’s just been too intelligent to come here.” Arthur C. Clarke.
  • “The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.” Rachel Carson.
  • “Believe something and the Universe is on its way to being changed. Because you’ve changed, by believing. Once you’ve changed, other things start to follow. Isn’t that the way it works?” Diane Duane.
  • “The universe is big, its vast and complicated, and ridiculous. And sometimes, very rarely, impossible things just happen and we call them miracles. And that’s the theory. Nine hundred years, never seen one yet, but this would do me.” Steven Moffat.
  • “All you really need to know for the moment is that the universe is a lot more complicated than you might think, even if you start from a position of thinking it’s pretty damn complicated in the first place.” Douglas Adams.

Did you know all this about our neighbor galaxy?


2018 top astronomy events you must see

For the ones that are waiting for any celestial wonder, here you have the sky events you can’t miss this 2018.

Planets line – March 7 and 8. Three planets will form a cosmic line that we’ll have the honor to witness. By this date, the planets Saturn, Mars, and Jupiter will align in the sky.

Blue Moon – March 31. Besides of appreciating the majesty of a full moon, by the 31st you can see it blue. Residents of Eastern and Central Asia will have the privilege of witnessing this incredible phenomenon. Of course, you may know the moon itself can’t be blue. A blue hue is possible due to volcanic activity or wildfires as dust particles.

A meteor shower – April 16th. A falling star will be seen over Myanmar as part of the Lyrid meteor shower. This event occurs thanks to the Earth that will pass into dust shed. This astronomical event is one of the oldest known, and it was referenced by Zuo Zhuan. It is named for the Lyra constellation, and the meteors will be seen as a part of the sky. The meteor shower will be visible in the Northern hemisphere and the North of the Southern hemisphere.

Eta Aquariids meteor – may 7th. Although the real Halley’s comet will be back by 2061, the eta acuariids meteor shower will be comprised of dust particles that will show the path of the famed comet. Is not a spectacular event but for all the astronomy fanatics in the Southern hemisphere will be visible.

Moon and Venus – July 15th. The crescent moon and Venus will create a stunning pair. North American habitats will be the best positioned to appreciate the two planets at their closest.

Lunar eclipse and Mars at its best – July 27th. The second eclipse of the year will be the longest of the 21 century. The moon will be situated at apogee, the furthest the moon gets from our planet in its orbit, and it will pass right through the center of the Earth’s shadow. This is called “Central Lunar Eclipse,” and it’s the most uncommon. The best view will be for those located from Australia to Brazil and all the ones that are in Eastern Africa and Central Asia.
The same day, you´ll see Mars close to the moon. The red planet will be a bright start in the southern sky. This year Mars will be nearer and at the same time father form our planet over time. Mars will be at its biggest and brightest since the year 2003, and it won’t come close until 2035.

Partial Solar Eclipse – August 11th. A partial solar eclipse will be seen across the Northern regions of North America and Europe. At the same time, for those who are in Greenland, Asia, and Iceland. Depending on your location you’ll see a significant event or not. The most fantastic view will be for the people located in remote sites in Russia and Northeastern China.

Perseids Shower – August 12th. A brilliant meteor will race across the sky considered one of the most intense annual meteor shower. The crescent moon of that day will permit a unique view condition for all the people in the Northern Hemisphere.

TRAPPIST-1 System Discovery

One of the more enduring qualities of mankind is the never ending thirst for discovery. It started with mapping out the land in which we lived and then shifted to the interest of conquering the seas. Once that was achieved, it was only natural that our gaze turned inward and of course, upward.

We often wondered if there was another planet like ours in the vastness of space. As of February of 2017, we got not one–not two—but SEVEN answers to this long standing question.

NASA had announced that they found seven potentially Earth-like planets orbiting a star 40 light-years away. This is certainly the first time such a discovery has been made and it has raised hopes that we’ll eventually find alien life.

The seven planets seem to be closely orbiting a dwarf star named Trappist-1. The dim star is slightly larger than Jupiter and shines with a feeble light that’s 2000 times fainter than our own Sun. The distance in which the seven planets orbit the star is comparable to Jupiter’s moons. They are measured to be near the size of our planet–some varying at around 10% or 20% smaller or larger.

Three of the new planets all live within the habitable zone near their source of heat and light. The conditions on planets so close to dwarf stars, which are known to release fierce bursts of x-rays and ultraviolet light, might not be the most conducive for life. But when the sun goes out in a few billion years, Trappist-1 will still be an infant star. It burns hydrogen so slowly that it will last another 10 trillion years, Snellen writes in an accompanying Nature article. That is more than 700 times longer than the universe has existed, so there is plenty of time yet for life to evolve.

The fact that Trappist-1 wasn’t as bright as our own Sun led to the discovery of the seven new planets. Since their discovery, our scientists have been busy trying to get more substantial data regarding the various atmospheres of the different planets. While initial hypothesis alleged that three of the planets may have water exist on their surface. There is also a possibility that the other four planets may also hold water. This will depend largely upon their atmosphere. So it’s a pretty good opportunity to conduct atmospheric studies.

It presents a good chance to do comparative studies between our own atmosphere and the chemical composition of exoplanet atmospheres. If any of the seven planets contain gases like ozone, oxygen, or methane–there’s a good chance of it holding or even hosting life.

Another pretty exciting thing about this discovery is that dwarf stars like Trappist-1 are pretty common in the galaxy. So, scientifically speaking, there’s a huge leap in the probability of finding other exoplanet discoveries and maybe we’ll be able to find another planet much like our own.

With the new discovery of these seven planets, the chances of finding another Earth-like planet is no longer a matter of if but of when.

Sun Q and A

Today, we discuss the one ball of gas that’s pretty near and dear to our hearts: The Sun. Any astronomy nut will be able to tell you that The Sun is the star at the very center of our solar system and is primarily responsible for our planet’s climate and weather. What we’ll be discussing today are some questions about our Sun.

Q: What is the shape of the Sun?
A: The Sun is an almost perfect sphere. It is estimated that only around a 10 km difference is in its polar diameter compared to its equatorial diameter.

Q: How old is our Sun?
A: From the more recent calculations, our Sun is around 4.6 billion years old.

Q: How many Earths can fit inside the Sun?
A: If we were to hollow out our Sun and place spherical Earths within it, an estimated 960,000 Earths would fit inside.

Q: What is the Sun’s circumference?
A: 4,366,813 km

Q: How long does light from the Sun take to reach Earth?
A: Given the average distance of 150 km from Earth and light that travels at 300,000 kilometers per second, it should take around 500 seconds or 8 minutes and 20 seconds for the light from the Sun to reach Earth. It is important to note that although it reaches Earth in a few minutes, according to space-time relativity, it would have already taken millions of years to travel from the Sun’s core to its surface.

Q: How fast does the Sun travel?
A: If you’re referring to the speed in which the Sun completes an orbit of the center of the Milky way, it would be 220 kilometers per second.

Q: Does the distance between the Earth and Sun remain constant?
A: No. The Earth travels on an elliptical orbit around the sun. Therefore, the distance between the two varies from 147 to 152 million kilometers.

Q: Does the Sun have a strong magnetic field?
A: Yes. Solar flares occur when magnetic energy is unleashed by the Sun in the event of magnetic storms. We see them as sunspots. In these sunspots, the magnetic lines are twisted and often spin–much like how you’d expect a tornado to move.

Q: What is the temperature of the center of the Sun?
A: At the very center of the Sun, temperatures can rise as much as 15 million Celsius.

Q: What is the temperature of the Sun’s surface?
A: The Sun’s surface reaches around 5,600 degrees Celsius.

Q: Does the Sun contain the most mass in the Solar System?
A: Yes. Our Sun contains around 99.86% of the mass in the Solar System. This is so because it is almost three quarters Hydrogen–the rest is Helium.

Q: Is the Sun “immortal”?
A: While the Sun has been depicted as a God in many cultures, it is in fact, not “immortal”. One day the sun will die out. Once the hydrogen in the Sun has burned away, it shall continue to burn for about 130 million more years–consuming what remains (Helium). In which event, the Sun shall expand and consume Mercury, Venus, and the Earth.

Astronomical Events this Month

It’s the start of the new year and for astronomy enthusiasts, that means a whole new calendar for astronomical events! Let’s break down the major events to look out for the month of January 2017.

January 3-4: Quadrantids Meteor Shower

Starting off the 2017 astronomical events is an above average meteor shower. The Quadrantids meteor shower has been recorded to show at least 40 meteors per hour at its peak time. Scientists theorize that these meteors are dust grains that was left behind by an extinct comet discovered in 2003. While the shower is an annual event that runs from the first to the fifth of January, this year it will peak on the third and fourth of this month. It will begin short after midnight and can be seen best by those who live in North America.

January 12: Full Moon

Peaking at 11:34 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time), this will be the first full moon of the year. You won’t need your telescope for this one but you may, if you want to have a closer look at what the Native Americans once refer to as the Full Wolf Moon. As known by many, a full moon is the lunar phase that happens when the moon is completely illuminated as perceived on Earth. It occurs when the hemisphere of the moon which is facing Earth is almost completely illuminated by the Sun and appears round.

January 12: Venus at Greatest Eastern Elongation

If you want to take a closer look at the second planet in our solar system, this will be a good day to do it. On this day, Venus will reach its greatest eastern elongation of 47.1 degrees from the Sun. A planet’s elongation is the angle between the Sun and the planet, with the Earth as the reference point. The greatest elongation of any given planet happens when the inner plant’s position is its orbital path to the Sun, is at tangent to the observer on Earth. As this is an eastern elongation, expect it to occur shortly after sunset.

January 19: Mercury at Greatest Western Elongation

While the eastern elongation occurs after sunset, the western elongation occurs before sunrise. Mercury will be at 24.1 degrees from the sun.

January 28: New Moon

Commonly known as the first phase of the Moon. When observed from Earth, the new moon occurs at the moment when the Moon and the Sun have the same ecliptical longtitude. While the moon itself is not particularly visible, it would appear the same as it would during a solar eclipse (as a silhouette). In non-astronomical perspectives, new moon refers to the first visible crescent of the Moon after a conjunction with the Sun. It’s a good chance to observe the different phases of the moon and jot them down in your astronomy journal.

With the several events that occur this month, it’s a good practice run for the rest of the year. You can either observe it by yourself or get in touch with the astronomy clubs or organizations in your area and start building your network to always be in the know of the upcoming celestial events worth seeing!

What is Dark Matter?

Dark Matter is a theorized type of matter that astronomers and cosmologists define as something in space that appear to be void of mass. The matter cannot be observed in any other means and is only noticeable because it wields gravitational effects on other matter near it. Unlike other matter in space that detected by their radio emissions, stellar activity, or light scattering or via other means, dark matter is invisible.

While it may not be visible via the use of many of the astronomy instruments, this matter is believed to constitute around 26.8% of the total matter in the Cosmos while ordinary matter constitutes around 5%. That means dark matter is most abundant yet the least observable entity in the Universe. It lacks electromagnetic ration meaning it does not emit any electromagnetic waves. Dark matter can only be studied or observed through is gravitational energy it has towards other matter.  Such is its mysterious nature that much of what is known about this matter is only hypothetical.

The vastness of space is dark; it has dark matter and dark energy.  The dark energy constitutes around 68.3% of the total mass of the universe and will constitute around 95.1% of the total mass-energy in the Universe. Note that while ordinary matter is believe to be around 4.9% majority of these matter is unseen because it is partly made up of observable stars and gas inside galaxies and clusters.

When Was The Matter Discovered?

Astronomers Sinclair Smith and Fritz Zwicky did a study of the velocity of galaxies within the Coma and Virgo galactic clusters. It was an analysis done in the 30’s that showed movement of the galaxies that was between ten and hundred times faster than normal, speeds deduced from estimates done based on the observation of stellar density. The two astronomers concluded that the increased speed was due to an unseen entity that was generating additional gravity.

Their finds were not easily accepted with a majority of cosmologists and astronomers being less convinced more so given the distance between earth and the galactic clusters. The complexities or doing accurate measurements of the independent velocities of the various galaxies also added to the debate.

But, more supportive evidence would coming in the 70s as more astronomer and scientists such as Peebles, Rubin and Freeman studies the rotation curves of each galaxy as well as stars in spiral galaxies, which has a faster movement around the galactic core that most visible masses or matter. More studies on dark matter indicated that all galaxies contained the matter and that it stretches far beyond the bounds of any given galaxy visible using telescopes or astronomy instruments.

What Constitutes Dark Matter?

The matter, often referenced as halos, is said to be made up of Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPS) and Massive Astrophysical Compact Halo Objects (MACHOs).  Further studies on this matter has seen various astronomers, cosmologists and scientists hypothesized that the dark matter may also include atoms and other particles most of which are believed to be in brown dwarfs and black holes in different sectors of the universe.

The Upcoming Total Eclipse of 2017

Every budding and old astronomer worth their salt will have something to look forward to next year! A total solar eclipse will be projected to occur on August 21, 2017. A large astral event isn’t exactly an everyday occurrence! So when one is coming, it’s important to be fully prepared to get the most out of your viewing experience! First things first, though! Let’s get the basics out of the way. Let’s discuss the details that you need to know to answer any questions the uninitiated may ask.

What is a Solar Eclipse?

A solar eclipse happens when our moon traverses between the Earth and the Sun—the moon’s shadow then covers the part of the Earth that’s currently facing the Sun. Most scientists are of the opinion that eclipses should be enjoyed while they still occur as our moon is slowly but consistently moving away from the Earth. This movement has been measured at 4 cm per year.

So it is entirely possible that several hundreds of years from now, our descendants will only enjoy an eclipse from the recordings that we have and currently still make.

The last solar eclipse happened on September 1, 2016 and was an annular one rather than a total eclipse.

What is a Total Solar Eclipse?

A total solar eclipse is one of the four types of eclipses that can occur. A total eclipse is quite the odd event by astral standards. Our sun is measured at around 864,000 miles in diameter which is around 400 times the size of our moon which measures at 2,160 miles. However, our moon just happens to be 400 times closer to Earth than the Sun. As a result, when the orbital planes intersect and the distances align just right, the new moon can appear to completely cover the disk Sun.

It turns out that there are two types of shadows to look out for when a total eclipse happens: umbra and penumbra. Umbra is the shadow where all the sunlight is effectively blotted out. Umbra usually takes the shape of a dark and slender cone. Penumbra, on the other hand, is a lighter and funnel-shaped shadow and the sun is only lightly obscured.

When a total solar eclipse happens, the shadow of the moon where all the sunlight is blocked (otherwise called the Umbra) will be cast upon the Earth’s surface. It may actually sweep a third of the Earth’s surface in a little under three hours.

What most photographers and excited astronomers look out for is that Corona. The corona happens when the moon has completely covered the sun. It offers a glimpse of the outer atmosphere of the sun that’s rife with activity. Total coverage can last as long as 7.5 minutes but can go by in a shorter span of time. It truly depends on certain factors that constantly change so it’s best to be on the lookout for future pertinent news!

Where will the Eclipse Be Best Seen?

Our scientists have determined that on August 2017 will be a total eclipse that will offer all astronomers in the content of North America a great view. The moon’s shadow was projected to cover Oregon to South Carolina—quite a feat! People have started calling this to be the Great American Eclipse.

So with this, it’s time to prep your schedules!

Astronomy: An Amateur’s Exceptional Find

Astronomy: An Amateur’s Exceptional Find

Everyone needs a hobby. It’s a good distraction from the every day grind of things. Trouble is, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of hobbies that a complete novice could get into. Most of the more popular hobbies, like photography, require costly equipment like tripods and an actual good camera. Even seemingly simple hobbies like calligraphy can cost quite a bit just for the brush alone! Fortunately, there is an ever present hobby that anyone can get into and it won’t even cost you a cent! All you need to do is look up at the sky at night. That’s right! It’s Astronomy.

Astronomy is the study of celestial objects, space, and the physical universe in its entirety. Medicine men used to rely upon star sign to foretell upcoming seasonal events. Early civilizations used the cycle of the moon to determine and build the calendar their used which, in turn, helped make our own calendar of today.

So just how friendly is astronomy to a beginner? All you need are your eyes, a pen, paper, and the night sky. Really, it is that easy. Astronomy started that way too, after all. The fishermen of the olden days used the stars to guide them as they went upon their trade routes. The jotted down specific constellations and used the north start to determine which way they were sailing. Now, the newbie astronomy enthusiast doesn’t need to be on a boat to be able to do the same thing. Before going out and seeking those stars, read up on them first. What constellations are you familiar with? Then head out to your own backyard or a nearby park at night. Locate any constellations you see above you. What time where they spotted? Come back the next day and at the same time. Did the constellations move? These are some points to look out for.

There’s so much an amateur to astronomy can do. Give yourself some activities once you’ve read up on certain planets and constellations. Challenge yourself in locating, sketching, and naming the ones you’ve seen up above you. Amateur astronomers can study the cycles of the moon and see if they do help establish dates. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with different planets and how long they take to orbit the sun, then you can do the activity where you can establish your age per planet. It may seem silly but it can be quite challenging!

Now, what kinds of cost would this hobby accrue? The answer: Very little. Unless, that is, you really want to get into it and even then, there are astronomy groups all over the different states that are more than happy to bring new astrology lovers into their fold. There are websites like www.skyandtelescope.com that make it rather easy to reach out to other amateur astronomy hobbyists. Organizations often hold gatherings where the more astronomy-crazed people bring their telescopes to be used by org members. It certainly is helpful to be part of a group. Not only are you getting immersed in a fun hobby, you’re meeting new like-minded people while you’re at it.

Should the amateur astronomy hobbyist have the need to purchase a telescope, innovation has definitely been your friend in a major way. However, it is important that you get some experience out in the field first with some of your astronomy buddies. Start with your eyes, target and locate the easier astral bodies. After all, if you can’t spot the basic ones, there would be no need to bust out a telescope set costing hundreds of dollars. If you want to start small, start with binoculars. Then, eventually get your hands on an actual telescope via your astronomy club buddies or even if you’re a tag-along during an astronomy event. Nothing really replaces actual experience.

At the end of it all is the opportunity to learn more about the cosmos and yourself. Astronomy does make for a good choice for amateur hobbyists.



Around 400 years ago thе Dаnіѕh astronomer Tусhо Brаhе ѕаw a strange nеw lіght іn thе ѕkу. Hе rесоrdеd whеrе he saw іt and nоw we think wе know еxасtlу whаt he ѕаw. It was a Suреrnоvа, a hugе ѕtаr explosion.


A nеw ѕtudу соnfіrmеd that іt wаѕ thе соmmоn kind that іnvоlvеѕ the thеrmоnuсlеаr еxрlоѕіоn оf a white dwаrf ѕtаr wіth a nearby соmраnіоn. Thе reason wе knоw whаt іt is, іѕ thаt after thе Supernova еxрlоѕіоn, a light сlоud оf debris іѕ still visible. Wе juѕt needed thе rіght еԛuірmеnt. Tусhо’ѕ saw the ѕuреrnоvа on Nоv. 11, 1572.


Hе thought it wаѕ a brilliant new ѕtаr іn thе соnѕtеllаtіоn Cаѕѕіореіа. The lіght brightened until іt eventually became аѕ brіght аѕ thе lіght frоm Vеnuѕ. It could be ѕееn fоr two wееkѕ in brоаd dауlіght. Aftеr 16 mоnthѕ, іt dіѕарреаrеd. Brаhе documented thіѕ wіth рrесіѕіоn аѕ unlike thе moon аnd thе planets, thе lіght’ѕ роѕіtіоn dіdn’t mоvе іn rеlаtіоn to thе ѕtаrѕ. Thаt to hіm mеаnt it lау fаr bеуоnd thе moon. Thаt wаѕ a ѕhосk tо thе contemporary vіеw thаt the dіѕtаnt hеаvеnѕ were perfect and unсhаngіng. It wаѕ unhоlу tо thіnk such a thоught.


Thе еvеnt inspired Brаhе to соmmіt himself further to ѕtudуіng thе ѕtаrѕ. Hіѕ mеtісulоuѕ observations helped lау the fоundаtіоnѕ оf early modern аѕtrоnоmу. Thе direct lіght frоm thе supernova ѕwерt раѕt Eаrth lоng ago. But ѕоmе оf іt ѕtruсk duѕt clouds іn deep ѕрасе, causing them tо brіghtеn. That light echo іѕ ѕtіll observable, and the nеw study wаѕ based оn analyzing the wаvеlеngthѕ оf lіght from that region. There are mаnу ѕuсh Suреrnоvаѕ аnd wе can ѕоmеtіmеѕ ѕее thеm wіth our naked еуеѕ. Twо such explosions wеrе ѕееn іn 1054 and then аnоthеr in 1987.


A ѕuреrnоvа іѕ thе death оf a giant ѕtаr, one thаt іѕ muсh bіggеr thаn оur оwn ѕun аnd it іѕ characterised by a mаѕѕіvе оutрut of energy, they аrе еxtrеmеlу lumіnоuѕ, thе еxрlоѕіоn expels muсh оr аll of thе ѕtаr’ѕ mаtеrіаlѕ аnd for a tіmе burns more brіghtlу thаn all thе ѕtаrѕ іn thе gаlаxу. It is thоught thаt іf a supernova еxрlоѕіоn оссurrеd within fіvе hundrеd million lіght уеаrѕ оf the Eаrth, wеll, thе Eаrth wоuld bе nо lоngеr.


Luсkіlу, they are nеvеr ѕо close, in fact thеу usually happen ѕо fаr away thаt thеу арреаr tо uѕ a mеrе twinkle. For thе brief реrіоd thаt they аrе visible, аll thаt dіѕtіnguіѕhеѕ thеm from other ѕtаrѕ іn the ѕkу іѕ that thеу оссuру a point of space that was nоt filled before. Suреrnоvа аrе іmроrtаnt tо uѕ bесаuѕе wіthоut thеm, wе ѕіmрlу wоuld nоt еxіѕt! Thе Bіg Bаng сrеаtеd many light gаѕеѕ but did not сrеаtе аnу hеаvу еlеmеntѕ, fоr a lоng time nоbоdу соuld fіgurе оut hоw they got here. Yоu nееdеd something rеаllу hоt tо fоrgе саrbоn аnd іrоn and оthеr еlеmеntѕ which wе nееd tо еxіѕt.


Suреrnоvа explained thеіr existence, еlеmеntѕ ѕuсh аѕ carbon, oxygen аnd іrоn are сrеаtеd by nucleosynthesis within the ѕtаr. In thе explosive dеаth оf the ѕtаr, thеѕе еlеmеntѕ аrе thrоwn into thе unіvеrѕе whеrе they may bе recycled bу оthеr ѕtаrѕ аnd gases. Durіng thе last thоuѕаnd уеаrѕ, thеrе have been approximately seven ѕuреrnоvае vіѕіblе tо thе nаkеd еуе – 1006, 1054, 1181, 1408, 1572, 1604 аnd 1987.


A Tуре Ia supernova is a class оf ѕuреrnоvа thаt occurs in bіnаrу ѕуѕtеmѕ in whісh twо ѕіѕtеr ѕtаrѕ аrе іn оrbіt аrоund one another. Onе оf thе ѕіѕtеr-ѕtаrѕ muѕt be a fоrm of stellar соrрѕе саllеd a whіtе dwаrf–thе lіngеrіng remnant соrе of a small ѕtаr like оur Sun–while thе оthеr саn bе any kind оf ѕtаr аt all, frоm a roiling, glаrіng, fіеrу gіаnt tо an even smaller whіtе dwаrf. Our Sun, bесаuѕе іt іѕ a solitary, ѕmаll star, is dеѕtіnеd tо perish реасеfullу when іt rеасhеѕ its white dwаrf ѕtаgе–but еxрlоѕіvе ѕtеllаr tаntrumѕ occur when ѕtаrѕ like оur Sun have ѕіѕtеrlу соmраnу. In February 2016, three уеаrѕ аftеr thе оссurrеnсе of juѕt such a саtаѕtrорhіс ѕtеllаr еxрlоѕіоn, new research wаѕ рublіѕhеd ѕhоwіng thаt аn еѕресіаllу рuzzlіng Tуре Iа ѕuреrnоvа соntіnuеd to shine muсh mоrе brightly, аnd fоr a lоngеr tіmе, thаn аѕtrоnоmеrѕ expected. This observation ѕuggеѕtѕ thаt thе роwеrful еxрlоѕіоnѕ mаnufасturе аn аbundаnсе оf a hеаvу form оf cobalt that gіvеѕ thе heat rеѕultіng frоm nuclear dесау an еxtrа energy bооѕt.


The рареr rероrtіng thіѕ research has bееn рublіѕhеd in thе Fеbruаrу 24, 2016 іѕѕuе оf Thе Aѕtrорhуѕісаl Jоurnаl. Thіѕ study is important bесаuѕе іt соuld help rеѕеаrсhеrѕ ріnроіnt a Tуре Iа supernova–a so-called “standard candle”–that іѕ frеԛuеntlу uѕеd tо mеаѕurе thе grеаt dіѕtаnсеѕ to rеmоtе galaxies, аnd tо unvеіl thе mysterious triggers behind thеѕе gіgаntіс stellar blаѕtѕ.


“Tуре Ia ѕuреrnоvае bесаmе very important to рhуѕісѕ, аѕ a whole, a соuрlе of decades аgо whеn they were uѕеd to ѕhоw thаt the expansion of thе Universe is accelerating. Yеt wе ѕtіll do nоt knоw еxасtlу whаt type оf star ѕуѕtеm explodes аѕ a Tуре Ia supernova оr hоw the еxрlоѕіоn tаkеѕ рlасе. A lot of rеѕеаrсh has gоnе іntо thеѕе twо ԛuеѕtіоnѕ, but thе answers аrе ѕtіll elusive,” explained study lead author, Dr. Or Graur, іn a Fеbruаrу 24, 2016 Amеrісаn Muѕеum оf Natural History Press Rеlеаѕе. Dr. Grаur is a research аѕѕосіаtе іn thе Amеrісаn Muѕеum оf Nаturаl History’s Department оf Aѕtrорhуѕісѕ and a роѕtdосtоrаl research аt New Yоrk University. Thе Amеrісаn Museum оf Natural History іѕ located іn New York Cіtу.


Stаrѕ аrе not eternal. When a lonely star blаѕtѕ іtѕеlf tо shreds and “dіеѕ”, іn whаt іѕ tеrmеd a core-collapse Tуре II supernova, thе deceased рrоgеnіtоr ѕtаr wаѕ a hеаvу ѕtаr, with a mаѕѕіvе соrе thаt weighed-in аt about 1.4 ѕоlаr-mаѕѕеѕ (Chandrasekhar lіmіt). However, whеn smaller, lеѕѕ-mаѕѕіvе ѕtаrѕ–lіkе оur Sun–реrіѕh, they gо “muсh more gеntlе іntо thаt gооd night” than their hеftіеr stellar соuѕіnѕ.

Speed Quiz with Why

This week is going to be slightly more challenging, as I’ve included harder questions and for some – you’ll need to explain why.

The binary star Algol consists of a 3.7M sun main sequence star and a 0.8 M sun subgiant star.  What’s odd about this pairing? 

Stars are close enough that matter can flow from the sub-giant onto the main sequence star.  The star that is now a subgiant was originally more massive.  As it reached the end of its life and began to grow, it transferred mass to its companion star (mass exchange- can alter lives of stars w/ close companions).

Stages of low-mass star:

H to He in core, H to He fusion in shell around contracting core, He to C fusion in core, double-shell burning – becomes white dwarf (protostar, main-sequence, red giant, white dwarf)

Stages of high-mass star:

same as low-mass, multiple shell burning, supernova (iron core collapses) – becomes neutron star, black hole, or nothing.

Suppose that we look at a photograph of many galaxies. Assuming that all galaxies formed at about the same time, which galaxy in the picture is the youngest?

The one that is farthest away

What are the necessities for life?

Nutrients, energy, liquid water

What clues to our galaxy’s history do halo stars hold?

They’re all old, w/ a smaller portion of heavy elements than disk stars, indicating that halos formed 1st.

What lies in the center of our galaxy?

Orbits of stas near the center of our galaxy indicate the existence of a black hole w/ 4 million times the mass of the sun.

What might dark matter be made of? 

There does not seem to be enough normal (baryonic) matter to account for all the dark matter, so it is probably made of particles that haven’t been discovered yet (non-baryonic).

What force keeps you from sinking to the center of the Earth? 


What were conditions like in the early universe? 

It was so hot and dense that radiation was constantly producing particle-antiparticle pairs.

What aspects of the universe were originally unexplained by the Big Bang Theory? 

The origin of structure, the smoothness of the universe on large scales, the nearly critical density of the universe.

What is the history of the universe according to the Big Bang? 

As the universe cooled, particle production stopped, leaving matter instead of anti-matter.  Fusion turned the remaining neutrons into helium.

Radiation traveled freely after the formation of atoms.

What causes gamma-ray bursts?

At least some come from supernova explosions.

What does our galaxy look like?

Our galaxy consists of a disk of stars and gas, w/ a bulge of stars at the center of the disk, surrounded by a large spherical halo.

What causes solar activity?

The stretching and twisting of magnetic field lines near the sun’s surface causes solar activity.

What is the sun’s structure?

Layers from inside out: core, radiation zone, convection zone, photosphere, chromosphere, corona.

What would happen inside the sun if a slight rise in core temp led to a rapid rise in fusion energy?

The core would expand and cool.

Why?  Decline in core temp causes the fusion rate to drop, so the core contracts and heats up.  Rise in core temp causes fusion rate to rise, so core expands and cools down.

What are the 2 types of star clusters? 

Open clusters are loosely packed and contain up to a few thousand stars.  They range in age from <10 million years old to >7 billion years old.  Globular clusters are densely packed and contain hundreds of thousands of stars that are about 1 billion years old.

What would happen to a contracting cloud fragment if it were not able to radiate away its thermal energy?

It’s internal pressure would increase.


The cloud can prevent a pressure buildup by releasing heat (by converting thermal energy into infrared and radio photons that escape the cloud).

What would happen to a protostar that formed w/o any rotation at all? 

It would not have any planets because planets need to rotate in order to be accreted.

What happens when a star can no longer fuse H to He in its core? 

Core will shrink and heat up.

Post today sponsored by the Top Tree Removal Experts in Albany, NY.  Visit their website for more information.