Argentinian Dude Photographs Exploding Star

Talk about lucky!  An exploding star.  A guy from Argentina was testing out his 16″ telescope last month, and he just happened to capture images of a supernova exploding in the barred spiral galaxy NGC 613:

From Quartz:

The burst of light from a supernova, called a “shock breakout,” occurs when a supersonic pressure wave from the star’s exploding core hits the gas at the star’s surface. The impact causes the gas to heat to an extremely high temperature and rapidly emit light for a fleeting moment. Until Buso’s photo, no one had captured such an image because stars explode seemingly at random.

“Professional astronomers have long been searching for such an event,” said UC Berkeley astronomer Alex Filippenko, who was among the international research team that conducted follow-up observations.

Buso quickly noticed the unusual burst of light in his photos and contacted an international group of astronomers. Over the next two months, both amateur and professionals jointly collected data on the explosion, called SN 2016gkg, in the spiral galaxy NGC 613. The new data provides rare insight into a star’s catastrophic demise, which was published today (Feb. 22) in Nature.

This is an amazing discovery — cosmic photons captured by accident — let’s hope that the amateur astronomer Victor Buso buys a lottery ticket!

Total nerdout side link:  The Transcient Name Server — information on NGC 613

Check out the shock wave on this thing, it is like a solar horror film:

Look at the smiler on this guy! Ladies and gentlemen, meet amateur supernerd Victor Buso:

hat tips:

Also check out some amazing photographs of galaxy NGC 613:


Two Suns in 2012? Really?

So, there’s a woo-mah (you know, a rumor) that in 2012, our Sun will be joined by ANOTHER sun-like bright disk in the sky that people have been worshiping for millions of years.  Our Sun, G2V, could possibly (theoretically) be competing for prime time sky space with the impending supernova of Betegeuse – some know it as Alpha Orionis.

The big rumor is that Betelgeuse is running out of betel-juice – which generally means that the fuel at the center of the star is diminishing.  Once this happens, it’s pretty much curtains for the supergiant star.  A few things could happen if the supergiant does its end-of-star death thing – one, it’ll turn into a massive black hole, or two, it’ll shower the Earth with neutrinos, or both.  Scientists don’t really have a solid understanding of what exactly happens with a supernova, but they do know that it’s only something that happens with stars that have a mass of at least nine times larger than our Sun (G2V).

Some people are being ridiculous about this possible event, saying that it’s a sign of the 2012 Mayan Doomsday thing.  While sometimes I think that it’s fun to pretend, this is a hunk of crap, methinks.  You know that if I’m wrong about this theory, it doesn’t matter because we’re all dead.

A professor at the University of Southern Queensland talked about all of this in an article at News.Com.AU:

When that happens, we’ll get our second sun, according to Dr Brad Carter, Senior Lecturer of Physics at the University of Southern Queensland.

“This old star is running out of fuel in its centre”, Dr Carter said. “This fuel keeps Betelgeuse shining and supported. When this fuel runs out the star will literally collapse in upon itself and it will do so very quickly.”

When this happens a giant explosion will occur, tens of millions of times brighter than the sun. The bad news is, it could also happen in a million years. But who’s counting? The important thing is, one day, night will become day for several weeks on Earth.

“This is the final hurrah for the star,” says Dr Carter. “It goes bang, it explodes, it lights up – we’ll have incredible brightness for a brief period of time for a couple of weeks and then over the coming months it begins to fade and then eventually it will be very hard to see at all.”

The interwebs is being flooded with doomsday theories saying the impending supernova confirms the Mayan calendar’s prediction of the Armageddon in 2012.

Well, here’s a picture of two suns in the sky to relieve the fact that if I’m wrong in predicting that the Mayans are right about the whole end of the world thing, we’re toast:

Thanks Wikipedia,, and Wikipedia!