December 15, 2011
That's a Mighty Big Candle

Astronomers are going gaga over the nearest type IA supernova seen since 1986. This type of supernova happens when a white dwarf of a specific sort of composition sucks off enough material from a companion star to initiate a catastrophic fusion event, so violent it destroys the dwarf outright. In the process it also creates a lot of heavier elements, most of which are required for things like us to exist.

Posted by scott at December 15, 2011 01:36 PM

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