Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Brightest Supernova ever seen

A massive stellar explosion, the brightest supernova we have ever seen, has prompted speculation that a similar massive star in our own Milky Way galaxy known as Eta Carinae may explode violently too and provide us with the best stellar show in the history of modern civilization. Oh boy, I can't wait! From BBC:
Nathan Smith, who led a joint team from the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Texas in Austin, said it was a "truly monstrous explosion, a hundred times more energetic than a typical supernova".

"That means the star that exploded might have been as massive as a star can get, about 150 times that of our sun. We've never seen that before."

....They say that before the supernova SN 2006gy expelled a large amount of material, similar in mass to Eta Carinae, prompting speculation that a similar fate awaits Eta Carinae.

Dave Pooley, at the University of California at Berkeley, said if Eta Carinae were to explode "it would be so bright that you would see it during the day, and you could even read a book by its light at night."

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