Scientists find oldest supernova yet, discovery could help explain why universe is accelerating
Supernova is 10 billion light-years distant.
Scientists from UC Berkley's Supernova Cosmology Project are announcing the discovery of the oldest supernova yet, having located it with the Hubble Space telescope at a distance of 10 billion light years. This discovery will provide astronomers with added data that may help them to solve one of the universe's greatest mysteries.
Astronomers know the universe is expanding in all directions, simultaneously, much like a balloon being inflated. Edwin Hubble discovered this in the 1920s when he studied the light from distant galaxies and found they were receding from us.
What astronomers recently discovered, and now poses one of the greatest mysteries, is that this rate of expansion is accelerating rather than slowing down or holding constant.
Astronomers compare this to an explosion that become more violent as it continues, rather than slowing down. It is a counter-intuitive mystery they are yet to solve.
However, both astronomers and physicists are working quite hard to unravel the mystery. One way astronomers can contribute is to measure distant objects. Certain types of supernovas, known as type IA supernovae, are excellent objects for astronomers to measure because they are uniformly bright.
A supernova is the explosive death of a star that occurs when a star has used all of the hydrogen fuel in its core and no longer has enough fuel to continue shining. The breakdown of atomic fusion in its core causes the outer shell of the star to collapse which in turn causes a uniform explosion in all directions. Stars of different masses produce different kinds of explosions, but type IA supernovas are uniform and equally bright in all directions. This allows them to be used to make precise measurements of distance.
Astronomers refer to them as "standard candles" since they serve as one of the several well-understood objects that can be accurately measured.
When the Berkeley astronomers found a Type IA supernovae 10 billion light-years distant, they knew they had an incredible find. The find now allows them to measure the distance to the object which they can compare to the expansion rate of the universe to create a data point. That data point can then be used to compare various theories of expansion and evaluate which ones serve to best account for the expansion rate of the universe.
In all, it's just a little more information than they had before. The team hopes to discover and measure several other similar objects to create a database of information that may help cosmologists settle on the mathematical model which best explains the accelerating universe.
For now, the mystery remains, but today, it's one step closer to being solved.
© 2013, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
Missionary Intention: Prepare the Savior's Coming. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Technology News
- Israeli scientists discover substance that may fend off Alzheimer's, Aging and Parkinson's
- Don't cry for Comet ISON, another stupendous sky show is coming!
- FANTASTIC! Mile-long floating city would house 50,000 permanent residents
- COMET ISON BREAKS UP!
- Where you can watch the death of Comet ISON live as it happens
- Showtime for Comet ISON!
- Astronomers observe the biggest, and scariest event in the universe since the beginning of time
- Genetic sequence from 24,000-year-old boy is oldest genome from human to date
- Rocket launches record-setting 29 satellites into space, visible along entire Eastern U.S.
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?