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Blow Up

23 Mar 2009, 05:44 UTC
Blow Up
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The big astrophysics news today comes from a paper just published in Nature, by a pair of researchers who claim to have resolved the long-standing debate about whether a particular known stellar object could have been the progenitor of supernova...The big astrophysics news today comes from a paper just published in Nature, by a pair of researchers who claim to have resolved the long-standing debate about whether a particular known stellar object could have been the progenitor of supernova SN 2005gl. It's significant, also, because said known stellar object should not have gone all supernova -- at least according to current theory. Avishay Gal-Yam (Weizmann Institute of Science) and Doug Leonard (San Diego State University) believe prevailing theory needs a bit of tweaking as a result to account for their findings.To really nail down which specific star gave rise to a specific supernova, it helps to know a bit about stellar evolution. It all begins with a giant molecular cloud that gravitationally collapses in on itself, thereby breaking into smaller and smaller pieces.
This releases gravitational potential energy in the form of heat, increasing the temperature and pressure in that fragment. Eventually, this increase causes a fragment to ...

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