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   Undertoad  Tuesday Aug 29 01:40 PM

August 29, 2006: Cassiopeia A supernova by Hubble



It's been a while since we had a space shot. I imagine this will be tomorrow's Astro Pic of the Day; today, WaPo highlighted it and so I went and found a big version at Hubble's website. The image is actually a stitch of 18 different images, and I cropped it for our purposes.

Cassiopeia-A is the "youngest known remnant from a supernova explosion in the Milky Way." It's in the Cassiopeia constellation.

300 years ago, it was a massive star, sitting around 10,000 light years from us; then, one day, it just exploded. Nobody knows why; supernovae are pretty mysterious. Perhaps it found an empty ice cube tray in the freezer.

Cassie A. would have been much larger and more dense than our own sun, and the resulting explosion would have been so unimaginably massive as to be beyond our comprehension. All we see now is the result: a huge, expanding cloud of interstellar dust. If you're interstellarly allergic, you might want to avoid that section of the galaxy.

They actually don't know why nobody noticed the explosion 300 years ago. People were looking, by then, and writing down what they saw.

And 25 years ago, telescopy was less advanced and someone theorized that the center might contain a black hole. Now they say it doesn't. I dunno what it would look like here... shrug, big black hole I guess.

Wikipedia entry



wolf  Tuesday Aug 29 01:41 PM

Well, that will be one hell of a screen background ...



Undertoad  Tuesday Aug 29 01:45 PM

Hang on, I'll build a few wallpapers in the right formats.



Emrikol  Tuesday Aug 29 01:47 PM

I can see the devil's face!!

*runs around in circles*



glatt  Tuesday Aug 29 01:52 PM

"empty ice cube tray" "interstellarly allergic"

You have fun writing these up, don't you?



Undertoad  Tuesday Aug 29 02:08 PM

Wallpapers, right-click and save in your desired format:

Cas A 1024x768 jpg

Cas A 1280x960 jpg

Cas A 1280x1024 jpg

Cas A 1600x1200 jpg

glatt, I do laugh at all my own jokes.



Happy Monkey  Tuesday Aug 29 02:56 PM

It's an evil space hedgehog!



lulu  Tuesday Aug 29 03:42 PM

Looks like rainbow coloured water splashed amongst the stars.



Shawnee123  Tuesday Aug 29 03:46 PM

It looks like beautiful vomit.

No, seriously, it is awe-inspiring.



9th Engineer  Tuesday Aug 29 04:33 PM

I'm sure other people noticed this but I'll point it out just to be on record. If it's ~10,000 lightyears from us then the supernova occured 10,300 years ago, we only got the update recently. Kinda ties back into the quantum mechanics stipulation that no information may be transmitted faster than the speed of light (including gravity waves, so even if we could have measured these more than 300 years ago they wouldn't change till the light reached us).



capnhowdy  Tuesday Aug 29 05:11 PM

I'm typeless.



mcnugget91  Tuesday Aug 29 05:57 PM

Thanks for the wallpaper undertoad! It is awesome!
It looks like the head and arms of a monster with huge teeth and claws!!



ferret88  Tuesday Aug 29 06:25 PM


i think someone just sneezed on the lens



Griff  Tuesday Aug 29 06:40 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertoad
Perhaps it found an empty ice cube tray in the freezer.
I'm thinking it was the crayon check off note. Either way great pic even if it doesn't seem food related at all.


Wombat  Tuesday Aug 29 06:57 PM

Maybe nobody noticed it 300 years ago because it was a very cloudy week.

Although, presumably a star that big and that close would have been in a constellation chart and someone must have noticed at some point that it was gone.



xoxoxoBruce  Tuesday Aug 29 07:35 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by 9th Engineer
I'm sure other people noticed this but I'll point it out just to be on record. If it's ~10,000 light years from us then the supernova occured 10,300 years ago, we only got the update recently.
Good point, did it happen 300 years ago, or 10,300 years ago?


Beestie  Tuesday Aug 29 07:59 PM

So when does the shock wave hit? I'm not letting go of this tree till then. Except to go to the bathroom.



JayMcGee  Tuesday Aug 29 08:20 PM

9th is almost right.
we saw the light 300 years ago..... and it's 10,000 light years away...


so the biggish bang was 9,700 years ago.



Clodfobble  Tuesday Aug 29 09:05 PM

You have that backwards, Jay. The picture above is how it looks now to us, i.e. the image is 10,000 years old. When the explosion itself was 10,000 years old, it was sometime in the 1700s for us. So the explosion (which we have no picture of, but if we did) happened roughly 10,300 years ago.



footfootfoot  Tuesday Aug 29 09:52 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beestie
So when does the shock wave hit? I'm not letting go of this tree till then. Except to go to the bathroom.
You are fucking hilarious. I'm going to glean a beestie beastiary and find a publisher.


footfootfoot  Tuesday Aug 29 09:52 PM

how soon is now?



footfootfoot  Tuesday Aug 29 09:54 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Griff
I'm thinking it was the crayon check off note. Either way great pic even if it doesn't seem food related at all.
Sweet! You read my mind three and a quarter hours before I had the thought.


rkzenrage  Wednesday Aug 30 01:16 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertoad
Wallpapers, right-click and save in your desired format:

Cas A 1024x768 jpg

Cas A 1280x960 jpg

Cas A 1280x1024 jpg

Cas A 1600x1200 jpg

glatt, I do laugh at all my own jokes.
That was very kind of you... thanks ever so much!


capnhowdy  Wednesday Aug 30 07:25 PM

Did 'THEY' delete Pluto off this image as well? I don't see him anywhere. And I liked Pluto.
The wallpaper is super. Thanks, UT. I have Star Wars theme on my other computer. Goes well.



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