Supernova Remnants

Supernovas are observed only about every hundred years from Earth, but many supernova remnants are still observable long after their peak of luminosity and radiance. The most famous of these is the Crab Nebula, now a dim nebula sitting about 5,940 light-years (1,800 parsecs) from the Earth and having a visible angular diameter about one-fifth that of the Moon. The Crab Nebula is so interesting because in 1054 its initial explosion was recorded by Chinese, Native American, and Middle Eastern astronomers, who recorded its brightness to be greater than Venus and rivaling the Moon. The explosion was so bright that it was visible in broad daylight for about one month, and the material is still moving outward from the central region at a couple of thousand miles per second (several thousand km/sec). Another historically famous supernova is Tycho's supernova, named after Danish nobleman and astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546-1601). It caused a sensation throughout the world during the Renaissance, causing many people to abandon existing ideas that the universe was constant and nonchanging.

Continue reading here: Supernovas And The Formation Of The Heavy Elements

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