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Youngest Galactic Supernova Found, But No Aliens

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the tax-paid-striptease-from-nasa dept.

Space 184

Simon Howes writes "After searching for decades, astronomers have found a supernova in our galaxy! So it wasn't little green men we were waiting for. It's located very near the center of the galaxy, about 28,000 light years away, and it's only at most about 140 years old. Quote from Bad Astronomy: 'If you're wondering what all the buzz has been about the past few days over a NASA discovery, then wait no longer. No, it's not aliens or an incoming asteroid. Instead, it's still very cool: astronomers have found the youngest supernova in the Milky Way.'" FiReaNGeL contributes a link to coverage on e! Science News; I think Wired's account of the super-hyped tele-press-conference is the funniest.

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140 Years old (5, Funny)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 6 years ago | (#23407794)

Younger than America, that's actually really impressive.

Re:140 Years old (5, Insightful)

Azaril (1046456) | more than 6 years ago | (#23407818)

It would be, if wasn't actually 28140 years old.

Re:140 Years old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23407976)

From their perspective, they are -27860 years old.

Re:140 Years old (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23408254)

... or if America wasn't dozens to hundreds of millions of years old.

zzzzzzzz... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23407982)

Wake me when they've discovered how Everything evolved from Nothing.

Re:zzzzzzzz... (2, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408148)

Wake me when they've discovered how Everything evolved from Nothing.
No, no, everything exploded from Nothing. Get it right. Sheesh.

Re:zzzzzzzz... (3, Funny)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408800)

<quote> Wake me when they've discovered how Everything evolved from Nothing.

No, no, everything exploded from Nothing. Get it right. Sheesh.</quote><br>Well first a daddy universe explodes into a momma universe and new life is formed. 9 billion years later that little universe thinks it is the center of everything.

Re:zzzzzzzz... (4, Funny)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408162)

That issue has been solved! Scientists recently found the missing link between inanimate, lifeless matter and the first primitive protozoa: an Anonymous Coward fossil.

Re:zzzzzzzz... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23408448)

That's not funny, my brother died that way!

Re:zzzzzzzz... (2)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408266)

Simple. Nothing is just a definition. By positing Nothing, it's opposite, Everything, must also exist. In true Nothingness, there are no definitions or boundaries, but there is also no lack of definitions or boundaries because the lack of something is a definition or boundary. The true void contains every possibility as well as the lack thereof. Duh.

Re:140 Years old (1)

goltzc (1284524) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408406)

This should be on the list of things younger than John McCain. www.thingsyoungerthanmccain.com [thingsyoun...mccain.com]

Gorizer (0)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 6 years ago | (#23409072)

Younger than America, that's actually really impressive.

So if you run that through the Gore-gonator, it becomes: "The birth of America caused a solar system to explode. We are killing the Universe. Everyone must stop driving SUV's (except me)."

Doesn't make sense.... (5, Insightful)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 6 years ago | (#23407806)

If it's 140 yrs old, then it can't be farther than 140 ly for us to know about it ??!!?

Re:Doesn't make sense.... (2, Informative)

ChrisPaulsworth (1225660) | more than 6 years ago | (#23407844)

You beat me to it!!!! Nothing travels faster than light, wouldn't it have to be 28,140 years old???

Re:Doesn't make sense.... (1)

Robotech_Master (14247) | more than 6 years ago | (#23407870)

Sloppy writing. They should probably have said something to the effect of "was at most 140 years old at the time the light we are now seeing left it."

Re:Doesn't make sense.... (1)

IcyHando'Death (239387) | more than 6 years ago | (#23407878)

My guess is that it's closer to 28,140 years old

Re:Doesn't make sense.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23407966)

'My guess is that it's closer to 28,140 years old'

Well, I guess that's pretty close; using their arithmetic: 28,140 - 140 = 28 !

Re:Doesn't make sense.... (0, Redundant)

Shagg (99693) | more than 6 years ago | (#23407902)

Yeah, I noticed that too. The article says that it's 140 yrs old "relative to earth's time frame". I assume what they mean is that it's 28,000 + 140 years old, meaning that the light we are seeing from it started reaching us 140 years ago.

Re:Doesn't make sense.... (1)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#23407932)

So it's a trick super-hyped announcement! They're telling us that they only discovered a supernova, which is ok. What they are actually telling us through this feigned mistake, is that they've discovered ftl technology!

Either that or they made an error converting AD years to light years. I hear they have problems with conversions.

Re:Doesn't make sense.... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23407992)

RTFA

This makes the original explosion the most recent supernova in the Galaxy, as measured in Earth's time-frame (referring to when events are observable at Earth).

Re:Doesn't make sense.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23408176)

So, as measured in earth's speed-frame, light travels at ~201 ly per yr. Great coordinate system there, the speed of light depends an how far away something is.

Re:Doesn't make sense.... (4, Insightful)

kalirion (728907) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408154)

We are seeing a 140 year old supernova. Just like someone looking at my baby pictures will be seeing a 3 month old kalirion.

Re:Doesn't make sense.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23408316)

Just like someone looking at my baby pictures will be seeing a 3 month old kalirion.

No, they will be seeing a picture of 3 month old kalirion.

Re:Doesn't make sense.... (1)

KillerBob (217953) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408852)

y'know... somebody throwing facts at you can really suck the joy out of a facetious remark like that.... I think it's safe to say that just about everybody who reads Slashdot has the necessary smarts (if not the knowledge) to realize that the article was meaning to say that the light left a supernova which was 140 years old and travelled 28,000 LY to reach us. The humour in the situation comes from the contrast between what they say, and what they mean.

But explaining that takes away from the humour in saying that either they've figured out how to travel FTL or somebody missed a decimal point in converting units of measure, now, doesn't it?

You deserve a cookie. :)

Re:Doesn't make sense.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23409288)

Beyond just that, on the timescales that are dealt with in astronomy, 28000 years IS NOT MUCH. Unless we're dealing with objects outside of our own galaxy, it's far more convenient and really not all that inaccurate on the timescales involved to think of what we see from our perspective on earth as the way things actually are. A main sequence star was more than likely still main sequence 50000 years ago. A supernova that happened 28140 years ago might as well have been yesterday.

Re:Doesn't make sense.... (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23408310)

Another supernova, that truly is only 140 years old, have been found! We just need to wait a couple thousand years to see it.

Re:Doesn't make sense.... (3, Insightful)

liquiddark (719647) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408392)

Relativity actually defines, in a sense, the age of an event relative to your own perspective. The "causal" perspective is the only one that really matters. From our causal perspective, the supernova is 140 years old.

Re:Doesn't make sense.... (1)

Fieryphoenix (1161565) | more than 6 years ago | (#23409174)

Mod up, this is exactly on the spot.

Re:Doesn't make sense.... (4, Funny)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408722)

They used a very fast telescope.

Prank call (1)

Neotrantor (597070) | more than 6 years ago | (#23407824)

did anyone else hear the prank call about moon crickets?

distance vs age? (3, Insightful)

forsetti (158019) | more than 6 years ago | (#23407852)

Wait -- if it is 28,000 light years away, but only 140 years old .... does that mean we won't see it for another 27,860 years? Or, did it actually occur 28,140 years ago and we could see it 140 years ago?

Re:distance vs age? (4, Informative)

theelectron (973857) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408002)

After reading the articles, you are correct. It is actually over 26,000 years old, we were just able to see in in the last 140 years.

Re:distance vs age? (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408506)

After reading the articles, you are correct
Blasphemer.

It is actually over 26,000 years old, we were just able to see in in the last 140 years.
Well, it's 26,000 years old from our perspective -- but from it's perspective, it's only 140 years old from the perspective of the evidence. Remember, it's traveling at the speed of light, so time has stopped.

Or something like that, I didn't bother to RTFToR either.

Re:distance vs age? (5, Insightful)

rossdee (243626) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408058)

In space, all news is old news.

Re:distance vs age? (3, Interesting)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408230)

This is just in! A first alien message! It's estimated to be 500,000 light years away and even more radio year.

After years of crunching our most heavy quantum computers, we decoded;
"HELP. WE ARE THE LAST KNOWN SURVIVING SPECIES IN THIS UNIVERSE. HELP. THEY FINALLY HAVE CREATED WEAPONS OF MASS... - NO CARRIER.".

Re:distance vs age? (1)

Sentry21 (8183) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408342)

Yeah, but how long until the dupe is posted? Or is it posted already and we just can't see it yet?

Re:distance vs age? (1)

thewiz (24994) | more than 6 years ago | (#23409108)

Think of it as the universe's prior art for a Wayback Machine (www.archive.org).

That's an amazing insight... (1, Flamebait)

dafrazzman (1246706) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408094)

Captain Obvious.

Re:distance vs age? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408106)

Right. It seems TFS is just made of fail.

Re:distance vs age? (1)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408182)

> ...does that mean we won't see it for another 27,860 years?

Nothing travels faster than light. We won't know anything at all about this supernova for 28,860 years.

Re:distance vs age? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23408376)


HOLY SHIT, I hope I can get tickets to THAT!!!!

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23407862)

If it's 28,000 light years away, how the heck can we know that it's only 140 years old!???

No, I did not read TFA.

i cum for nigger spaceballs (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23407888)

I've seen the aliens and they are the GAY NIGGERS in my asshole right now,
their forehead is tatted with GNAA sperm fuck me i like gay nigger anus
fuck me like a chimp fuck me with that hippo prick!

140 years old? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23407890)

I'm not an astrophysicist, but how can something be 28000 ly away but only be 140 years old when it is detected?

check your math (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23407896)

If it's 28000 light years away, and only 140 years old, shouldn't it take another 27860 years before we can see it?

Or do they mean that it's 28140 years old now, and we can see what it looked like when it was only 140 years old?

Um... (0, Redundant)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 6 years ago | (#23407918)

Uh, paint me blue and call me stupid but how do you detect something that is 140 years old and 28,000 light years away? I'm sure there's some voodoo physics that makes sense there but my brain is locked on "28,000 light years means the light takes 28,000 years to get here" and having trouble figuring out how one would detect something that happened 140 years ago at that distance...

Re:Um... (2, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408036)

As with all these article, it is talking when the light became available for us here on Earth to see.

Not to be picky, but... (1, Redundant)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 6 years ago | (#23407926)

FTFA (emphasis mine):

Scientists using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory have discovered the Milky Way's most recent supernova, which exploded a mere 140 years ago, a few years after the Civil War. ...Supernova located approximately 26,000 light years away from here.


Now, obviously, these two statements as presented above are mutually inconsistent. It the supernova went off 140 years ago at a distance of 26,000 LY, there would be no way for us to know about it.

Obviously, the intended meaning was that the supernova exploded around 26,140 years ago, and its light just got here 140 years ago. It's pretty shocking that NASA would make such a big deal of this, and then screw up the announcement in such a major way. Epic fail.

Re:Not to be picky, but... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408066)

It the supernova went off 140 years ago at a distance of 26,000 LY, there would be no way for us to know about it.

You're missing the point. Obviously, NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has a working Time Machine which they've been keeping secret - until now. (Someone's getting fired...!)

Re:Not to be picky, but... (1)

Minupla (62455) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408164)

No, someone got fired, before they leaked the informatX8&$NO CARRIER

Re:Not to be picky, but... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408168)

Ask the photons man. The Harvard link mentions that the 140 years is relative to Earth's time frame.

Re:Not to be picky, but... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23408194)

Luckily the scientists involved understand reference frames and hence can communicate wthout loosing the numbers that matter in the error bars.

Re:Not to be picky, but... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23408212)

Obviously, the intended meaning was that the supernova exploded around 26,140 years ago, and its light just got here 140 years ago. It's pretty shocking that NASA would make such a big deal of this, and then screw up the announcement in such a major way. Epic fail.

It is standard practice for astronomers and journalists covering astronomy to phrase findings that way. It makes life easier for them, makes for more readable news and allows Trekkies like yourself to show off. It's whatever you "epic fail" dweebs call a win-win situation.

Thank you for not being picky, though.

Re:Not to be picky, but... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408312)

The only Epic Fail is you.

They were looking for the most recent Visible super nova.
With in that context they are exactly right.

Re:Not to be picky, but... (1)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 6 years ago | (#23409032)

We wouldn't need to find a supernova that went off only 140 years ago, it would be close enough that we could probably see it with the naked eye... before it blinded us and gave us a nice deep black gamma ray tan.

A supernova within about 100 light years or so of Earth would probably cause an extinction event at the same time it was detected. NASA's announcement would be very exciting indeed, except for the little detail that, there'd probably be no one around to give it.

Astronomy makes yet another advance (-1, Offtopic)

loose electron (699583) | more than 6 years ago | (#23407962)

In the last 20 years the astronomy textbooks have been re-written a number of times on so many topics. This is one of those areas of science that is still being developed and written during our lifetime. Fascinating to watch the story unfold.

On a lighter note, I guess the Vatican and the pope are willing to recognize that "little green men" are allowed to exist as well. If you go by those rules, then "those 7 days when it all happened" were even busier than we thought!

And, yes, my tongue is planted firmly in my cheek!

Whoa....there... (-1, Redundant)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 6 years ago | (#23407980)

What about...ummm....the speed of light? 140 yrs. ago? Or did it actually occur 28,140 years ago so we would see it 140 years ago?

=Smidge=

140 years old? (1)

rafikki (818387) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408054)

Is that 28,140 years old or are they getting around light speed some how?

It's easy to detect things faster than TSOL (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23408102)

All you need to do is divide the light years away by the smarmy posts about the speed of light in /.

In our case, 28000 ly/200 smartass speed of light posts = 140 years ago.

The more posts we get, the later it happens. Pretty soon, NASA will be able to predict the future! (Don't ask me about the math in that)

21 comments so far..... (0, Flamebait)

tygt (792974) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408114)

And they all say the same thing, about 28kLY + 140y.

What's that say about /. posters?

Re:21 comments so far..... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23408328)

That - by and large - they're all a bunch of asshole fucking faggots.

One More (0, Redundant)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408142)

Could I please see at least 1 more post about the whole 140 years ago and 28k light years conundrum? I didn't quite get it reading the first 20 of them.

Re:One More (0, Offtopic)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408250)

That's amazing. I'm at -1 Redundant for pointing out the redundant posts, most of which are insightful. I know, I know. I must be new here.

Re:One More (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23408636)

You do know that your post is the third post commenting that?

Fuck you guys, I'm off to 4chan for my intelligent discussion.

FTA "As measured in Earth's time frame" (4, Informative)

loose electron (699583) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408166)

"The supernova explosion occurred about 140 years ago, making it the most recent supernova in the Milky Way as measured in Earth's time frame. Previously, the last known galactic supernova occurred around 1680, based on studying the expansion of its remnant Cassiopeia A."

What that statement means is from the observational perspective of the earth. If it is a 1000 light years away, and we see the event here and now, then it occurred now "as measured in Earth's Time Frame" but actually from the distance, we know the event occurred a 1000 years ago.

Re:FTA "As measured in Earth's time frame" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23408414)

Is there another time frame you speed-of-light pendants think we should be using instead of Earths? It's not like these articles are written for the galactic community.

WTF math error??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23408180)

I'm no astrophysicist, but how can something be 28000 ly away but only be 140 years old when it is detected?

Real issue here (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408210)

Why did some asshat call in to the NASA teleconference and ask about moon crickets, and when the hell did that become a racial slur?

My Favorite Part (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408314)

"Aside from the couple of loonies, I think that went quite well."

How much does it suck to have to say that during the announcement of your career.

Re:Real issue here (2, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408508)

Why did some asshat call in to the NASA teleconference and ask about moon crickets, and when the hell did that become a racial slur?
I dunno. You'd have to ask those stupid moon crickets that question.

Re:Real issue here (1)

Deadstick (535032) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408618)

The term "cricket" surfaced in a racial-discrimination lawsuit in Denver in the 1970s, as code for black patrons at a certain disco. Their doorman was overheard calling his management on his walkie-talkie and discussing how many "crickets" he should admit to the club.

rj

Time Frames are important (1)

A Canuckian (1140517) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408216)

From the article:

"The supernova explosion occurred about 140 years ago, making it the most recent supernova in the Milky Way as measured in Earth's time frame. Previously, the last known galactic supernova occurred around 1680, based on studying the expansion of its remnant Cassiopeia A."

So if I'm understanding this, the supernova happened 26,000 years ago (give or take about 140 years, now...more give, granted), as according to the time frame centred on the area of space around the supernova - this is relative to ours, note.

However as far as our local space is concerned, the balloon went up 140 years ago (or possibly sooner). Where this is important is that there was a conjecture that there should be about 3 visible-to-us supernovas every century. There's been a lack of observed ones lately, so the boffins were wondering where they'd gotten off to. Hence the cake and party.

Not so overdue (3, Interesting)

EricWright (16803) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408260)

Several different "experts" have predicted that the Milky Way should have at least one supernova every 100 years. Of course, the question has been why we hadn't seen one since 1604. I guess this ... ahem, sheds new light on the issue. As Dr. Reynolds puts it, there's too much interstellar 'gunk' out there.

Disclosure: Dr. Reynolds was co-chair of my thesis committee, but I was doing computational astrophysics, not observational.

Re:Not so overdue (2, Interesting)

photonic (584757) | more than 6 years ago | (#23409102)

The rate I heard was once every 30 years. This is the kind of explosion that LIGO and others are waiting for, since this would be a pretty easy target for observing gravitational waves. This one was at 28k lightyear or about 8 kiloparsec. LIGO has been running last year with a 'detection horizon' of about 15 Megaparsec, so this one was really at spitting distance. This is the reason why the gravitational wave community does an effort to keep at least one interferometer running at all times by scheduling the planned downtime. Even the less sensitive GEO could hear something if it blows up in our galaxy. They didn't observe anything so far (they estimate a chance of 1/100 to 1/10 per year) but this will get better after the current upgrades: increasing the horizon with a factor 10 will increase the reachable volume (and thus detection rate) by a factor of 1000.

composite image (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23408290)

That composite image looks strangely like the firefox logo.

NASA Is Wrong - Crab Nebula Is "Younger" (3, Informative)

cybrpnk2 (579066) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408332)

NASA is wrong in saying this new supernova is the "youngest" - it is actually just the MOST RECENTLY OBSERVED. The Crab Nebula supernova [wikipedia.org] has it beat as "youngest", exploding occuring only 6500 years ago (and observed less than 300 years ago, in 1731) instead of exploding 28,000 years ago (and observed in 2008).

Mod Parent Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23408434)

NASA is wrong in saying this new supernova is the "youngest" - it is actually just the MOST RECENTLY OBSERVED. The Crab Nebula supernova [wikipedia.org] has it beat as "youngest", exploding occuring only 6500 years ago (and observed less than 300 years ago, in 1731) instead of exploding 28,000 years ago (and observed in 2008).


Mod Parent Up! His post made my brain hurt, so it's gotta be worth SOME mod. points

Re:NASA Is Wrong - Crab Nebula Is "Younger" (4, Informative)

TigerNut (718742) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408578)

The supernova associated with the Crab Nebula was observed and recorded by the Chinese and the Arabs in 1054. It was only in 1731 that the nebula itself was charted by Western astronomers and even later that it became M1 in Messier's catalog.

Seen age vs. "actual" age (2, Interesting)

Pausanias (681077) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408780)

I think the point here is that we are recording digital images of a star as it was only 140 years after it exploded. As opposed to the crab, for which we have digital images 6500 years after it exploded. Regardless of how old the supernova "actually" is now, what matters is that the data we have shown it at age 140. Whereas for the crab, the data we have show it at age 6500.

NASA is wrong in saying this new supernova is the "youngest" - it is actually just the MOST RECENTLY OBSERVED. The Crab Nebula supernova has it beat as "youngest", exploding occuring only 6500 years ago (and observed less than 300 years ago, in 1731) instead of exploding 28,000 years ago (and observed in 2008).

Mod parent +1 informative (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408812)

The parent's parent is an idiot

Re:Seen age vs. "actual" age (1)

cybrpnk2 (579066) | more than 6 years ago | (#23409326)

Actually, the data we have for the Crab Nebula shows it at age 2008 - 1054 = 954 years vs. at age 140 years for the new supernova. You should compare the 6500 year "real" date to the new nova's 28,000 year date, not the 140 year date. No wonder they use stardates in star Trek. The NASA press release talks about the new nova being pretty special, but the Crab Nebula is no slouch. It expanded to over 10 light years in size in under 1000 years. That's 1% of the speed of light. Plus it is over four times closer and not obscured by dust, so both the larger angular size and visible light availability still means the Crab Nebula is still "the people's supernova".

Relativity of simultaneity (3, Interesting)

amstrad (60839) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408396)

People need to read about relativity of simultaneity [wikipedia.org] before trying to be smart asses and making laymen comments about events at large distances.

Re:Relativity of simultaneity (1)

DoctorSVD (884269) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408640)

And how would that change the basic comment that the age of the event in the local frame of reference is more like 28000+140 years? Sure, using the correct Lorentz transform is going to change the number slightly, but that's not the point. Get off your high horse, kid!

Re:Relativity of simultaneity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23409130)

That only applies when you have two frames of reference. In this case, there's only one: from wherever the supernova was observed.

I came in here to burn some mod points... (5, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408484)

And I'm posting because there is no "Moron" mod.

This is seriously one of the stupidest discussions I've ever seen on /. Every post is either repeating something from the article, making a pedantic loser comment on the "140 years" line, or explaining to the morons the whole concept of "Frame of Reference."

It's what I'd expect from a society where people prank call a scientific conference. Nice one, guys.

Re:I came in here to burn some mod points... (2, Funny)

bark76 (410275) | more than 6 years ago | (#23409176)

/me calls CERN

me: Excuse me. Is you Large Hadron Collider running?

CERN: Why yes, it is.

me: Well, you better go catch it.

Educate me, please. (1, Interesting)

Lucas123 (935744) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408564)

28,000 light years away equates rougly to 164.6 quadrillion miles. While I'm certain that the scientists are using their very best methodologies and calculations, isn't attempting to measure the age of a supernova that far away down to the year it occurred analogous to attempting to sex a fruit fly perched on a rock in the Sea of Tranquility?

Re:Educate me, please. (1)

Sciros (986030) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408838)

o.O if it's 28,000 light years away that already implies that what we see now happened 28,000 years ago. It took 28,000 years for the light from that event to reach us.

Re:Educate me, please. (1)

Sciros (986030) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408884)

To further clarify, in case I misunderstood your original question, figuring out that the supernova is 140 years old took a few years of observation and measurements. Given what we do know about supernovae, I suppose it's not that difficult to estimate the age of one based on its current state and how quickly it's changing.

Re:Educate me, please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23409194)

If they found a fruit fly of any sex perched on a rock in the Sea of Tranquility, it would probably be bigger news than a super nova 28,000 light years away.

I, for one, welcome our insectoid dead-in-a-glass-of-wine overlords.

Here's how this works (1)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408778)

A star 26,000 LY from Earth goes supernova and it's light could have been seen on Earth 140 years ago.
No one on Earth 'saw' it then because it was too far away and buried in the center of the Milky Way, so there is no record of the supernova.
Most supernovae display common characteristics in their light curve and the type of nebula they leave behind.
Astronomers using the CXO were able to image the object, determine it's size and distance, the relative velocity of the nebula's expansion,
and make a determination as to the 'date' the explosion occurred. Just from the remains of the explosion, the nebula.
As a comparison, the the supernova that was responsible for the Crab Nebula was observed in 1054 AD by the Chinese.
The Crab Nebula itself was not seen until 1731.

Re:Here's how this works (1)

Drooling Iguana (61479) | more than 6 years ago | (#23409124)

Actually, they got the age of the supernova by comparing the new pictures that they took of it to the pictures they got back in 1985. They looked at the difference in the size of the gas bubble that it threw out and used that to calculate its speed. They were then able to extrapolate backwards to find its age.

Re:Here's how this works (1)

AJWM (19027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23409156)

A star 26,000 LY from Earth goes supernova and it's light could have been seen on Earth 140 years ago.
No one on Earth 'saw' it then because it was too far away and buried in the center of the Milky Way,


Hmm. Ever read Larry Niven's "At the Core"? Stars are packed kind of closely there. Maybe this is the supernova that triggered the chain reaction of supernovas causing the core explosion. We may not have much longer before the main wavefront gets here.

Better start working on that hyperdrive, folks. Or investing in sunshields. ;-)

Firefox on universe (1)

manoelhc (1172781) | more than 6 years ago | (#23408848)

Looks like the firefox logo. Nice!

Dupe! (4, Funny)

STrinity (723872) | more than 6 years ago | (#23409018)

First posted August 1868:

Natural philosophers studying the heavens have spotted a stellar nova some 7000 light leagues distance. The light from this exploding star emanated some 24000 years before the birth of Our Lord. This has caused some confusion among scholars, as this would require the star to have combusted some 20 millennia before the creation of the Universe. Philosophers are also unable to theorize what may have made the star explode, though one possibility is a build-up of gas deep within the star's anthracite core.

This is certainly the biggest bang since Mr. Wilkes' curtain call during "Our American Cousin".

What's the RDA for supernovae? (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#23409024)

"The discovery addresses a lack of recent supernova in our galaxy."

This makes it sound like the galaxy's going to suffer incontinence or flaking nebulae if it doesn't get enough supernovae.

(disclaimer: this is a joke, I know what he means. I shouldn't have to add this, but this is slashdot)

All the aliens are in the UK (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 6 years ago | (#23409146)

Haven't you seen the documents the BBC is covering on UFOs and Aliens in the UK?

That's why you aren't finding aliens there ...

Firefox logo anyone??? (1)

sobolwolf (1084585) | more than 6 years ago | (#23409190)

Gosh that looks like the firefox logo... now i can copy the firefox logo and claim prior art hahahahhahaa

But wait! (1)

stoofa (524247) | more than 6 years ago | (#23409218)

If it's 28,000 light years away then how can it only be 140 years old?

Before you mark this 'redundant' let me just point out that I was actually first to ask this question... relative to Earth's time frame.

This will, of course, become a standard caveat that people throw into conversation.

"No officer, I was only doing 55mph... relative to Earth's time frame."

(Very old woman in short dress at bar):"Me sonny? I'm only 32 years old... relative to Earth's time frame."

Knowing something "before" it happens. (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 6 years ago | (#23409224)

As has already been pointed out, the light from the supernova got here 140 years ago. This obviously means that it exploded 26000+140 years ago, not 140 years ago. But leaving that aside...

It's certainly possible, in theory, to know that something has happened in a far-off place before the light actually gets to us. Imagine that you train your telescope on an object which is 26,000 light years away. The object is a bomb, with a digital countdown which ticks once per year. Suppose that the display reads 25860. From this, you can deduce that the bomb must have exploded 140 years ago, even though the light from that explosion will not arrive for another 25860 years.

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