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Official Space is Awesome Thread


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#331 thug the bunny

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Posted 09 April 2018 - 10:27 PM

So here is a conundrum about star death and re-berth I could never wrap my head around. A star collapses and blows up to produce a supernova. That produces a nebula, which condenses and produces new stars and solar systems.

Wait, conservation of mass?

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#332 Argonne69

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 11:14 AM

View Postthug the bunny, on 09 April 2018 - 10:27 PM, said:

So here is a conundrum about star death and re-berth I could never wrap my head around. A star collapses and blows up to produce a supernova. That produces a nebula, which condenses and produces new stars and solar systems.

Wait, conservation of mass?

What's the conundrum? Massive stars (8+ solar masses) explode at the end of their lives when their cores produce iron (Type Ib, Ic, and II), which is unable to fuse into heavier elements. The stars undergoes sudden gravitational collapse (with speeds up to 70,000 kph/43,495 mph or 23% the speed of light), with the core compressing to a critical density (i.e. neutron star). The process releases enough energy to blast the remaining outer layers of lighter elements into interstellar space. The resultant shock wave can trigger the formation of new stars. In fact, depending on the initial mass of the star, a good chuck of the stars mass has already been ejected before the remaining star explodes.

I believe that roughly half of the mass is converted into energy, with 99% of it carried away in a 10 second burst of neutrinos (1058). An early warning system called SNEWS consists of a network of neutrino detectors that is programmed to send an alert if two detectors see a burst within 10 seconds of each other. This allows astronomers to train their instruments on that patch of the sky.

That leaves plenty of mass thrown out to begin the next generation of stars. I believe subsequent generations are smaller.

It's estimated that supernova occur at a rate of 10 per second in the universe.

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#333 thug the bunny

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 09:11 PM

View PostArgonne69, on 10 April 2018 - 11:14 AM, said:

View Postthug the bunny, on 09 April 2018 - 10:27 PM, said:

So here is a conundrum about star death and re-berth I could never wrap my head around. A star collapses and blows up to produce a supernova. That produces a nebula, which condenses and produces new stars and solar systems.

Wait, conservation of mass?

What's the conundrum? Massive stars (8+ solar masses) explode at the end of their lives when their cores produce iron (Type Ib, Ic, and II), which is unable to fuse into heavier elements. The stars undergoes sudden gravitational collapse (with speeds up to 70,000 kph/43,495 mph or 23% the speed of light), with the core compressing to a critical density (i.e. neutron star). The process releases enough energy to blast the remaining outer layers of lighter elements into interstellar space. The resultant shock wave can trigger the formation of new stars. In fact, depending on the initial mass of the star, a good chuck of the stars mass has already been ejected before the remaining star explodes.

I believe that roughly half of the mass is converted into energy, with 99% of it carried away in a 10 second burst of neutrinos (1058). An early warning system called SNEWS consists of a network of neutrino detectors that is programmed to send an alert if two detectors see a burst within 10 seconds of each other. This allows astronomers to train their instruments on that patch of the sky.

That leaves plenty of mass thrown out to begin the next generation of stars. I believe subsequent generations are smaller.

It's estimated that supernova occur at a rate of 10 per second in the universe.

I think I understand now. So it has to be a massive star that explodes to eject enough stuff to create new stars. Still, I have to digest all of this information. Thanks Arg. Are you a physicist?
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#334 Argonne69

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 09:40 PM

Yeah, the earliest stars were enormous beasts. The bigger the star, the hotter it is, the faster it burns through its fuel, and the quicker it dies. All the elements heavier than iron are made in the supernova of these dying stars, which ultimately produced the materials necessary for rocky planets, and life. Our sun is believed to be a second or third generation star, containing hydrogen and helium created during the Big Bang, along with heavier elements created when the first generation stars exploded.

No, not a physicist, but I've taken numerous courses. At one point I was dreaming of becoming an astronomer, but sitting on a mountaintop all night had its downsides. Lol. I currently live on a steady diet of space-related documentaries, e.g. How the Universe Works. They peak my curiosity enough to do some additional research on the topics. I have way more questions than answers on topics such as dark matter, black holes, interstellar space, star formation, etc. The universe is truly wonderful.

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#335 thug the bunny

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 10:57 PM

View PostArgonne69, on 10 April 2018 - 09:40 PM, said:

Yeah, the earliest stars were enormous beasts. The bigger the star, the hotter it is, the faster it burns through its fuel, and the quicker it dies. All the elements heavier than iron are made in the supernova of these dying stars, which ultimately produced the materials necessary for rocky planets, and life. Our sun is believed to be a second or third generation star, containing hydrogen and helium created during the Big Bang, along with heavier elements created when the first generation stars exploded.

No, not a physicist, but I've taken numerous courses. At one point I was dreaming of becoming an astronomer, but sitting on a mountaintop all night had its downsides. Lol. I currently live on a steady diet of space-related documentaries, e.g. How the Universe Works. They peak my curiosity enough to do some additional research on the topics. I have way more questions than answers on topics such as dark matter, black holes, interstellar space, star formation, etc. The universe is truly wonderful.

You just touched on another question I had bouncing around in my head, about our sun being a 2nd or 3rd generation star. I always wondered where the heavy elements came from when our sun was formed from clouds of H. But then, if there was all this heavy stuff floating around, why didn't our sun just form a super huge planet with a rocky core?

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#336 Argonne69

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 09:42 AM

View Postthug the bunny, on 10 April 2018 - 10:57 PM, said:

You just touched on another question I had bouncing around in my head, about our sun being a 2nd or 3rd generation star. I always wondered where the heavy elements came from when our sun was formed from clouds of H. But then, if there was all this heavy stuff floating around, why didn't our sun just form a super huge planet with a rocky core?

The sun does contain heavy elements, but they represent only a tiny fraction of the overall mass of the sun. It's 70% hydrogen and 28% helium. Carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen make up 1.5%, and the other 0.5% are small amounts of the heavier elements, e.g. iron, silicon, magnesium.

While a supernova does create the heavier elements, they remain a small fraction of the amount of hydrogen and helium in the universe. Keep in mind that the sun is 333,000 times the mass of the Earth. 1.3 million Earths could fit inside the sun. If the sun swallowed our planet, it would add 0.0003% more heavy elements.

So basically, the sun has over 1000 Earth's worth of heavy elements in its core. I'm not exactly sure how a star initially forms, but I wouldn't be surprised if a large rocky clump sits in the middle of the protoplanetary disc, pulling in the hydrogen and helium until sufficient mass has built up to ignite the star.

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#337 thug the bunny

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 07:45 PM

View PostArgonne69, on 11 April 2018 - 09:42 AM, said:

View Postthug the bunny, on 10 April 2018 - 10:57 PM, said:

You just touched on another question I had bouncing around in my head, about our sun being a 2nd or 3rd generation star. I always wondered where the heavy elements came from when our sun was formed from clouds of H. But then, if there was all this heavy stuff floating around, why didn't our sun just form a super huge planet with a rocky core?

The sun does contain heavy elements, but they represent only a tiny fraction of the overall mass of the sun. It's 70% hydrogen and 28% helium. Carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen make up 1.5%, and the other 0.5% are small amounts of the heavier elements, e.g. iron, silicon, magnesium.

While a supernova does create the heavier elements, they remain a small fraction of the amount of hydrogen and helium in the universe. Keep in mind that the sun is 333,000 times the mass of the Earth. 1.3 million Earths could fit inside the sun. If the sun swallowed our planet, it would add 0.0003% more heavy elements.

So basically, the sun has over 1000 Earth's worth of heavy elements in its core. I'm not exactly sure how a star initially forms, but I wouldn't be surprised if a large rocky clump sits in the middle of the protoplanetary disc, pulling in the hydrogen and helium until sufficient mass has built up to ignite the star.

I guess my question is if our galaxy condensed from a huge nebula, why is the sun 70% H, while the inner planets are mostly Fe, Ni, and Si? There seems to have been a selective condensation happening. The inner 4 planets are rocky iron based, while the sun and the rest of them are gas based. It's almost like galactic chromatography but with separation based on gravity rather than BP?
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#338 Argonne69

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 09:42 PM

View Postthug the bunny, on 11 April 2018 - 07:45 PM, said:


I guess my question is if our galaxy condensed from a huge nebula, why is the sun 70% H, while the inner planets are mostly Fe, Ni, and Si? There seems to have been a selective condensation happening. The inner 4 planets are rocky iron based, while the sun and the rest of them are gas based. It's almost like galactic chromatography but with separation based on gravity rather than BP?

When the sun ignited, the blast of solar wind blew away the lighter elements in the inner solar system, leaving primarily the heavy elements. That's why we have small, rocky planets near the sun.

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#339 thug the bunny

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 10:13 PM

View PostArgonne69, on 11 April 2018 - 09:42 PM, said:

View Postthug the bunny, on 11 April 2018 - 07:45 PM, said:

I guess my question is if our galaxy condensed from a huge nebula, why is the sun 70% H, while the inner planets are mostly Fe, Ni, and Si? There seems to have been a selective condensation happening. The inner 4 planets are rocky iron based, while the sun and the rest of them are gas based. It's almost like galactic chromatography but with separation based on gravity rather than BP?

When the sun ignited, the blast of solar wind blew away the lighter elements in the inner solar system, leaving primarily the heavy elements. That's why we have small, rocky planets near the sun.

I remember hearing that on a number of documentaries, just forgot.Then a perturbation in the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn brought water bearing comets raining in upon the newborn earth from the oort cloud. It's awesome how the formation of our little goldilocks section of the galaxy was so fortuitous. Although it is calculated that there are billions x billions possible planets in similar proximate orbits as our earth across the universe, how many could have undergone such fortuitous events as ours? I guess the answer is still billions...
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#340 Argonne69

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Posted 12 April 2018 - 07:03 AM

There is also a theory that either Neptune, or the yet-to-be-found Planet 9 tugged Jupiter to its current location, as it was much closer to the Sun, In the process it cleared out our little corner of the solar system. Otherwise we would have very likely crashed into Jupiter eons ago.

In the Universe, the saying goes, "If you're one in a billion, there are a billion of them just like you".


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#341 Argonne69

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 09:42 AM

M61, a barred spiral galaxy in the constellation Virgo located 55 million light-years away. The galaxy has been the host of 7 observed supernovas.

Posted Image

Photo: ESA/Hubble & NASA

Edited by Argonne69, 19 April 2018 - 09:42 AM.


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#342 Argonne69

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Posted Yesterday, 09:24 AM

Happy 28th anniversary, Hubble. The Lagoon Nebula, 4000 light years away, 55 light years wide, and 20 light-years tall. This image shows a 4 light-year wide section.

Posted Image

A section in infrared.

Posted Image

Photo: NASA/ESA/STScl

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