Eight miles a second is nearly 13 kilometers an hour, the equivalent of 28,800 mph
Scientists have captured the blast from a supernova 10,000 light-years away in a cosmic speed trap, clocking the shockwave from the dead star’s explosive end at speeds of nearly 8 miles per second.
The new measurements of the supernova remnant W44 not only revealed how fast the shockwave is going, but also how much energy is associated with it, researchers with the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan explained in a statement. Observations like this will allow scientists to figure out how supernovas shape their surrounding environment, they added.
“The shockwave caused by the supernova explosion expands, having a strong impact on the composition and physical state of surrounding interstellar materials,” observatory officials said in a release. [Supernova Photos: Great Images of Star Explosions]
“It also emits kinetic energy into interstellar space. ‘Galactic winds’ blasting out a large amount of gas are often observed in galaxies where explosively active star formations take place. The energy source … is also thought to be many supernova explosions.”
Eight miles a second is nearly 13 kilometers an hour, the equivalent of 28,800 mph (46,440 km/h). For context, the supernova shockwave is traveling slightly slower than the escape velocity of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft when it launched toward for Pluto from Earth. That spacecraft was clocked at 36,000 mph (almost 58,000 km/h), which set a record in January 2006 for the fastest Earth departure.
Supernovas take place when a large star, at least eight times the size of the sun, runs out of elements to fuse for energy and collapses upon itself. This process sends out a blast of material and energy into the immediate area.
The deaths of these gigantic stars trigger all sorts of secondary effects. For example, they are the primary source for the universe’s heavy elements.
There is, however, little understanding of the speed and energy associated with a supernova shockwave, observatory officials said. Telescopes are designed to hone in on small areas of the sky, but a supernova requires observations across a wide area.
“Wide-area observations with the existing equipment require quite long observation times,” NAOJ officials said. “Therefore, observations of interstellar gas influenced by a supernova shockwave have been limited to a narrow area.”
Research team members have studied W44 — which is located in the constellation Aquila — since the late 1990s. In the most recent study, they used the 45-meter telescope at NAOJ’s Nobeyama Radio Observatory in Japan, as well as the 10-meter Atacama Submillimeter Telescope Experiment in Chile.
NAOJ describes ASTE as a precursor for the recently completed Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array in Chile, which is designed to (among other uses) penetrate the dusty areas around young solar systems.
W44’s shockwave is butting against a giant molecular cloud that is about 300,000 times more massive than the sun. The researchers examined molecular spectrum lines in the gas that have a “wide velocity width,” which they interpret as evidence that the gas is being pushed by the shockwave.
The new work also uncovered the “shocked gas” expanding as the shockwave hits. The shockwave’s kinetic energy greatly exceeds what is produced by the sun, observatory officials said.
Observations also revealed molecular gas careening at a speed of more than 62 miles (100 km) a second in regions with very strong shockwaves, although the exact origins of this phenomenon aren’t quite understood. The team plans to further study shocked gases around other supernovas.
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to have a personal, intimate relationship with God? Are you wandering around aimlessly or even feeling a bit lost occasionally? Are you on a well-beaten path that you follow but not sure what the ending will be? I hope your interest and curiosity are stimulated, because that would be the Spirit of God talking to you. And that’s a very good thing! There is an Assurance, fully equipped with directions and disclosure and an unyielding, unconditional love that waits for you, that is calling you. Something that is well beyond any hope and expectation that is out there for you to have, to cherish, and to adhere to without reservation, without fear.
Don’t wait another moment living without the safety of God almighty. He desires for you to be blessed, and He unconditionally loves you, just as you are. He tells us so, and much more in the Holy Bible. He has even provided a way for you to be in vital union with Him by paying your sin-debt in full through His only begotten Son Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Religion, happy thoughts, and good works without Jesus as your Savior just doesn’t cut it; there is absolutely no way any person could ever do enough, be kind enough, give enough, or go to church enough to pay their sin-debt because it took a Sinless Sacrifice (Jesus) to pay your sin debt. In full! Already paid, in advance! Yours to claim! But you must claim it.
Pray a faith-filled prayer like the following sample:
“Father God, I need Your Savior to forgive me of my sins for I am a sinner. I believe Jesus Christ was crucified, shed His Blood and died as a Sacrifice for my sin-debt and rose again, living forevermore. I am sorry for my sins and turn from them. I accept Jesus Christ (Jesus Christ God’s only begotten Son, not the prophet jesus) into my heart as my personal Savior and Lord. Please forgive me of my sins. I declare (out loud) that Jesus Christ of Nazareth is my Savior. Please fill me with Your Holy Spirit to enable me to change my life to honor You, to have an unencumbered personal relationship with You and to lovingly obey You. Thank You, Lord God. Amen.”
Guess what? You have officially been adopted into the family of God, a partnership with Jesus Christ and you now have eternal salvation! Just like that! I congratulate you, bro, sis! Now tell a friend, spread the word, and show them the same path to the gift of salvation to your family, friends, and other loved ones! Get hooked- up with a Bible-believing and teaching church, there is much to learn and to enjoy! I’m so excited for you and the good things to come for you and yours!