Outpouring gas from the planetary nebula NGC 6326. Elements and compounds within the gas re-seed space to help build the next generation of stars. The core of the red giant, called a white dwarf star, illuminates the nebula. Credit: ESA/NASA

How Stars And The Big Bang Got Into Our Bones

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” — Carl Sagan That man knew how to make connections. A couple weeks back, we looked at how hydrogen atoms are squeezed together…
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an unusual type of neutron star with an extremely strong magnetic field

Brightest Supernova Ever Discovered Amazes And Confounds

Last June, the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN — think “assassin”) discovered a faint flicker of starlight in an unremarkable galaxy in the far southern constellation of Indus the Indian. Hundreds of supernovae are discovered every year, but this one was different. Once it was determined the exploding star lay 2.8 billion light years from…
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Hubble Uses Gravity Axe To Cleave One Supernova Into 4

Gravity gathers together and hews apart. The powerful gravity of a galaxy embedded in a massive cluster of galaxies called MACS J1149.6+2223 has split the light of distant supernova into four separate images, a phenomenon predicted by Einstein called gravitational lensing. Although astronomers have discovered dozens of multiply imaged galaxies, they’ve never seen a lensed supernova explosion until last November.…
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Doomed Stellar Relationship To End In Supernova Catastrophe

I’ve had a few relationships explode but none like what’s going to happen to this couple in 700 million years. A team of astronomers, led by Miguel Santander-Garciá (Observatorio Astronómico Nacional, Alcalá de Henares, Spain), has discovered a close pair of white dwarf stars in the core of the planetary nebula Henize 2-428 in constellation Aquila…
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Mercurial Delights / Supernova In Spiral Galaxy M61 / Jupiter Spots

Scattered thin clouds took nothing away from this morning’s otherwise clear sky. With the Moon waxing from quarter to gibbous phase, the slab of darkness between moonset and dawn gets sliced thinner every day. Starting November 4th the Moon will light the sky all night and not give back the darkness till next weekend. I took…
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