Massive Star Explosion; Supernova Reveals Universe Is Still Expanding Really, Really Fast [PHOTO]

By iScienceTimes Staff | January 9, 2013 3:55 PM EST

This massive star explosion was captured by NASA. Supernova explosions like this one help astronomers gauge how fast the universe is expanding. (Photo: NASA)

A massive star explosion has been discovered by astronomers in a galaxy 10 billion light years from Earth. The distance means the massive star explosion actually occurred a long time ago, approximately 3.7 billion years after the Big Bang formed the universe. The supernova, known as SN SCP-0401, is categorized as a Type 1A supernova which astronomers refer to as "standard candles" because of how they enable them to study the ever-expanding universe and the dark matter behind it, according to Space.com. The massive star explosion was 10 times as bright as the biggest star explosion on record.

Like Us on Facebook

"This is the most distant supernova anyone has ever found for doing dependable cosmology," David Rubin, of the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley, said in a statement.

Rubin presented the results of the study which identified the massive star explosion at the 221st meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Long Beach, Calif. Rubin and his team used the Hubble Space Telescope to record their observations of the supernova, which they first noticed back in 2004. Researchers at the time dubbed the massive star explosion Mingus, after jazz musician Charles Mingus.

Although the massive star explosion represents an unprecedented cosmic event, to astronomers the light from the massive star explosion was quite faint; the equivalent of looking at a firefly from 3,000 miles away.

It might be a faint light, but studying supernovae has led to some big discoveries.

The 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics went to a pair of research teams that used the massive star explosions to confirm that the universe was, in fact, expanding at an accelerated rate.  Currently, NASA estimates the universe is expanding at a rate of 73.8 kilometers per second. That acceleration, they discovered, is driven by the mysterious dark matter that makes up most of the mass in the known universe. The dark energy driving the expansion of the universe means that, eventually, the universe will dissipate back into nothingness. But not before giving us a lot more massive star explosions to marvel at.

"The most important unanswered question we have about the nature of dark energy is whether it varies over time - whether it affects the expansion of the universe differently in different eras," Rubin said. "With SN SCP-0401, we have the first example of a well-measured supernova sufficiently far away to study the expansion history of the universe from almost 10 billion years ago."

In with a big bang, out with a whimper.

© 2012 iScience Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
Follow iScience Times
us on facebook RSS
 
us on google
 
Most Popular
Kamusi: Multilingual Dictionary Aims to Aid Machine Translation with All Words in Every Language [VIDEO]
Kara Vandereyk Arrested: Sex With Pit Bull In Public Lands Las Vegas Woman In Jail [VIDEO & MUGSHOT PHOTO]
Contaminated Tattoo Ink Caused Skin Infections, FDA Says
North Korea Nuclear Readiness: Is The U.S. At Risk?
German Boy's Gravestone: Soccer Ball Will Be Added After Facebook Campaign
INSIDE iScience Times

8-year-old Handcuffed: Why Were Special-Needs Student Jmiyha Rickman's Hands And Feet Bound? [VIDEO]

37-Pound Cat Gets Adopted: How Will 'Biscuit' Lose The Weight? [VIDEO]

Loyal Dog Prevents Suicide; Guardian Angel Pushes Gun From Owner’s Hands Moments Before Fatal Shot

Paul Bearer Dies: Top 5 Videos Of The Dead Wrestling Legend [PHOTOS]

Missing Soldier Found In Afghanistan: How Did Red Army Find Bakhretdin Khakimov After 33 Years?
Boy George Weight Loss At 51 Years Old: How Did The 'Freer Nutrition' Diet Help Boy George Lose Weight? [VIDEO]
Boy George Weight Loss At 51 Years Old: How Did The 'Freer Nutrition' Diet Help Boy George Lose Weight? [VIDEO]