Friday, 10 June 2011


I can't believe that. My lovely words just all disappeared! It was my best writing ever! I literally highlighted the text then it went white, paused and said "Autosaving draft". The draft was blank. Thanks blogger, I hate you. I hate you. I suppose I better write all that again.

Well...crash, bang, wallop. First it brightened, then fainter, brighter again. What's going on? Well this is a Type II b supernova. It's the little spot on the left of the galaxy. Like any other dying star, its outer layers of hydrogen began to be driven away out into space. Although deep down in the core was a different story. The atoms were frantically and desperately fusing into heavier and heavier elements. Silicon was becoming nickel, which became iron. That's as far as fusion can go. But before much of this was made the helium core alone had reached a point where it's own weight was too much for its atoms. Suddenly, the atoms were crushed and started to mercilessly fall inward to the core. On their way the protons, neutrons and electrons (remember your high school chemistry!) all became neutrons, briefly forming heavy elements like iodine, gold & lead. This was no ordinary ride, the particles were accelerated to thousands of kilometers per second! As the neutrons all neared the centre, they bunched up against one another and made a solid neutron ball. Hitting this brick wall at 1000s of km per second, created a huge, HUGE shockwave that rebounded all the infalling matter back outwards, blasting space with 200 million sunpower of energy. What I saw through my little eyepiece was a point of light. From earth, the view was masked by the outer hydrogen atmosphere. But now this atmosphere has been rendered transparent the full rage of the supernova's energy has come through, causing this second brightening. All of this was happening 23 million light years away, which means it all happened 23 million years ago. Awesome.

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