Monday, May 07, 2007

Starlight, Star Bright

You got the loving that I like, alright
(Joni Mitchell)

I am so glad this Voice of America story isn't true.
We have discovered a supernova that stands out as far and away the most powerful, the brightest supernova that has ever been observed," said Nathan Smith.The gigantic blast occurred in a galaxy 240 light years away, the distance light travels in 240 years. It was seen in September by ground telescopes and NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory.
If it were true, I wouldn't be writing this.

This NYT report seems more like it:
Astronomers have been following the star since last September, when it was discovered in a galaxy 240 million light-years away in the constellation Perseus.
Phew. However, the NYT goes on to say:
The star bears an eerie resemblance to Eta Carinae, a star in our own galaxy that has been burbling and bubbling in the last few centuries as if getting ready for its own outburst. The observations suggest that the troubled and enigmatic Eta Carinae, thought to weigh in at about 120 solar masses, could blow up sooner than theorists have thought. Mario Livio, a theorist at the Space Telescope Science Institute who was not involved in the research, said Eta Carinae’s death could be “the most spectacular star show in history.”
Eta Carinae's only 8000 light years away.

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