Hot answers tagged

15

None of those stars can go supernova, so the question is rather moot. If you look at the classifications, the most luminous is Sirius A (an A sequence star even) you can get an idea of its mass. If you look at your source page, and link to the explanation you see that A stars range from 1.4 to 2.1 stellar masses. In order to go supernova though, you need ...


12

Naked eye nova are fairly common, several per year. Here's one. Naked eye supernova are far rarer. SN1987a in the large Magellanic cloud was naked eye visible (vid). From this list, it appears the supernova in 1987 was the most recent naked eye supernova. There was a naked eye gamma ray burst in 2008, but I don't think anyone actually got outside in time to ...


11

It's a matter of size and stellar evolution. There are many, many types of stellar explosions. The University of Arizona has one page that describes these types. generally, a Novs is not what we think of (i.e. a star exploding). That's actually a Type II Supernova. According to that site: Novae are frequently (perhaps always) members of binary ...


10

Nobody really knows how type Ia supernovae detonate (or deflagrate) - there are a number of possibilities. The "vanilla" possibility is not what you state in your question, it is that the white dwarf accretes sufficient mass that it approaches the Chandrasekhar limit and becomes dense enough in its core to commence carbon burning. However, the emerging ...


10

Ricky, it is very rapid. The core collapse and initial neutrino burst takes seconds to tens of seconds. We don't normally think about neutrino interactions, but so many are released that even this might be a problem for a nearby habitable planet. It then takes a few hours for the shockwave from the core collapse and bounce to make it out to the surface, ...


9

Your question is a bit oversimplified because there are many types of supernovae based on the size and configuration of the star. But I can answer your question about "why iron" by considering what keeps a star from exploding in the first place. In the simplest terms of star formation, when material from an interstellar nebula starts to collapse under its ...


9

The "iron core" in a supernova is actually the end product of a nuclear statistical equilibrium that begins when the silicon core begins to fuse with alpha particles (helium nuclei). Exothermic reactions are possible right up to Nickel-62 (which is actually the nucleus with the highest binding energy per nucleon). In fact, successive, rapid alpha captures ...


8

As you say, SN 1572 is not very bright in the optical. There are some Hα regions that have been observed with world-class optical telescopes, but they do not look like the X-ray and infrared images that you normally see. In fact, images from the Palomar Optical Sky Survey 2 (with a limiting magnitude of ~22) do not reveal any nebular emission from ...


8

The Sun does not have nearly enough mass to become a supernova. Instead, it will swell to become a red giant, enveloping Mercury, Venus, and possibly Earth. After that, it will shed its outer layers as a planetary nebula, and settle down to become a white dwarf. Wikipedia, apparently, says the exact same things I had though of: The Sun does not have ...


8

As HDE 226868 noted in his answer, the Sun is not going to go supernova. That's something only large stars experience at the end of their main sequence life. Our Sun is a dwarf star. It's not big enough to do that. It will instead expand to be a red giant when it burns out the hydrogen at the very core of the Sun. It will continue burning hydrogen as a red ...


8

Supernova create huge spikes in neutrino emissions. Since neutrinos pass through a stellar mass mostly unimpeded, they're visible up to 3 hours before the shockwave even starts to affect the star's surface. Since neutrinos travel at the speed of light, they will always keep their 3 hour head start. Thus, unless you have a neutrino detector buried a few ...


7

No, absolutely not. The core of a core-collapse supernova is one of the hottest places in the present-day universe. The temperature as the star runs out of nuclear fuel in its core is around 6-10 billion Kelvin. As it collapses, the core gets even hotter, perhaps as high as 100 billion Kelvin for a few seconds, before neutrino cooling starts to become ...


7

A succinct summary of supernova types is given in the following image based on Heger et al. (2003): Image courtesy of Wikipedia user Fulvio 314 under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. The graph is based on the graph in Fig. 1 of the linked paper. The pair instability realm is upwards of ~100 solar masses, though it is ...


6

Given the description, that light patch was probably Pleiades. It is a star cluster in the constellation of Taurus which is inspired from a popular Greek mythology of Seven Sisters. You can read more about it here. EDIT: One of the great softwares, free and open source, for amateur level observational astronomy, though professionals use it as frequently ...


5

According to this website the peak visible magnitude will be about 10.5 around February 2nd. Earlier estimates had been a little brighter around the same date.


5

The current supernova is a supernova of type Ia. Supernovae of type Ia are used as standard candles for distance estimates, especially used to determine the Hubble constant. Hence by a better calibration of this kind of supernovae, more about the reliability and accuracy of distance estimates can be learned. The expansion rate (in relation to the distance) ...


5

It does not appear to be practical to photograph with amateur equipment. According to the Wikipedia article the remnant was viewed visually with Palomar telescope. Links to studies of the remnants were done using 2m + telescopes. So trying to get a visible light photo would require an extremely large telescope. This table does not list a magnitude for ...


5

This is going to be a short answer, but it should help. From Wikipedia: Images taken with the Spitzer Space Telescope uncovered a cloud of hot dust in the vicinity of the Pillars of Creation that one group interpreted to be a shock wave produced by a supernova. The appearance of the cloud suggests a supernova would have destroyed it 6000 years ago. ...


5

The answer is: frequently. There are many amateur astronomers that make it their ambition to discover new supernovae or to observe and report on new variable stars. As an example, let me cite amateurs Robert Evans, who apparently holds the record for most supernovae found by visual observation, or Tom Boles, who holds the record for supernova discoveries by ...


5

The speed of the blast front depends on the initial energy release and the density of the medium into which it is expanding, see here. Theory suggests and measurements confirm expansion rates of the order of thousands of km/s or a few $\times 10^6\ \mbox{m/s}$ or $\sim 1\% \mbox{c}$.


5

Yes, but it's slow. (I'm not an expert, so feel free to correct if I miss something important), but once the star is into the later stages, past the Helium stage, up to Iron, fusion mostly takes place by fusing a helium onto a heavier element, raising each atomic number by 2. That's not the only method but it's the most common. Iron can also fuse into ...


5

The Sun will not become a supernova, it will never explode. A star must have about 8 times more mass than the Sun in order to cause a supernova explosion. When it starts to fuse helium, the Sun will become a red giant and expand out to about Earth's orbit and throw out gas to form a beautiful so called planetary nebula. Mercury, Venus and maybe Earth will be ...


4

There are several misconceptions in your question. First, a star does not vacuum everything in its vicinity. Rather it forms from a condensation in a gas cloud, which in turn collapses to a proto-star surrounded by a gas disc, which can contribute further material. Once formed in this way, a star typically does not acquire more gas (exceptions are symbiotic ...


4

The answer is that in a pre-supernova star, most of its mass is still in the form of hydrogen and helium. It is only the central core where the primordial H and He has fused to heavier elements. This picture of onion layers is typically what you see in elementary text books. It is completely misleading in a quantitative sense. It schematically represents ...


4

The paper "Frequency of nearby supernovae and climatic and biological catastrophes" by Clark, McCrea, and Stephenson published in Nature estimates (at 50% probability) that the Solar System passes within 10 parsecs of a supernova every 100 million years. This supernova would be part of a 20-parsec strip in which an estimated 50 supernovae occur. They do ...


4

The binding energy per nucleon is among the highest for iron-56. Therefore nuclear fusion as well as fission/photodisintegration of iron-56 consumes energy. Heat production is needed to prevent a star from collapsing to a much denser state. Iron-56 provides no way to produce heat by nuclear reactions. Hence core collapse is unavoidable. If the star isn't ...


4

I see two real questions here. First, whether it's possible to have a black dwarf with a companion object. For a given black dwarf, this is unlikely, since the orbits would likely be unstable at the time scale required to produce a black dwarf. Given the size of the universe, however, it's not out of the question. A black dwarf could even capture a companion ...


3

It's very likely, that we don't have discovered every non man-made element. For some elements there exist only very short-lived isotopes. Plutonium... is the heaviest primordial element by virtue of its most stable isotope, plutonium-244, whose half-life of about 80 million years is just long enough for the element to be found in trace quantities in ...



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