Latest Robert Kirshner Stories

Two Different Sources for Supernova, Both Models Are Correct
2012-05-07 10:40:40

The exploding stars known as Type Ia supernovae serve an important role in measuring the universe, and were used to discover the existence of dark energy. They're bright enough to see across large distances, and similar enough to act as a "standard candle" - an object of known luminosity. The 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded for the discovery of the accelerating universe using Type Ia supernovae. However, an embarrassing fact is that astronomers still don't know what star systems make...

2011-10-12 22:59:30

New Laureates include NSF-affiliated researchers in Physics and Economics With the last of the 2011 Nobel Laureates announced yesterday, it is noteworthy that five of these recipients have conducted research supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF)--Saul Perlmutter, Brian P. Schmidt and Adam G. Riess received the Nobel Prize in Physics; and Thomas J. Sargent and Christopher A. Sims received the Nobel Prize in Economics. "The international community of scientists once again...

2007-11-01 10:00:00

Cambridge, MA - Astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) have found that a supernova discovered last year was caused by two colliding white dwarf stars. The white dwarfs were siblings orbiting each other. They slowly spiraled inward until they merged, touching off a titanic explosion. CfA observations show the strongest evidence yet of what was, until now, a purely theoretical mechanism for creating a supernova. "This finding shows that nature may be richer than...

2007-02-22 11:20:00

Twenty years ago, astronomers witnessed one of the brightest stellar explosions in more than 400 years. The titanic supernova, called SN 1987A, blazed with the power of 100 million suns for several months following its discovery on Feb. 23, 1987. Observations of SN 1987A, made over the past 20 years by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and many other major ground- and space-based telescopes, have significantly changed astronomers' views of how massive stars end their lives. Astronomers credit...

Word of the Day
  • The navel or umbilicus.
  • In Greek archaeology: A central boss, as on a shield, a bowl, etc.
  • A sacred stone in the temple of Apollo at Delphi, believed by the Greeks to mark the 'navel' or exact center-point of the earth.
'Omphalos' comes from the ancient Greek.