Archive for the ‘Tycho Brahe’ Category

From the frontiers of space, an explanation of a sky glow seen 436 years ago

December 5, 2008

Using the distant echoes of light from a thermonuclear flare which an ancient Dutch astronomer witnessed in November 1572, scientists were able to make a composite picture of the event. Astronomer Tycho Brahe described the enigmatic glow in the heavens. He thought it was a new star in the Cassiopeia constellation.

Scientists arrived at an explanation of “SN1572,” the luminescent body which was first seen and documented by Brahe 436 years ago before it faded in the sky. Scientists from Europe and Japan confirmed it was supernova, an old exploding star.

“Supernovae are the explosions of aging stars, that produce enough light to outshine entire galaxies for a few weeks. They are important scientifically because they seed the universe with heavy elements, providing the raw material for successive generations of new stars. The very well defined luminosity of type-Ia supernova also makes them ideal “standard candles”, allowing astronomers, by comparing their observed and actual luminosities, to gauge distances within the universe and thereby chart the cosmic rate of expansion.“ (12/03/08, Cartlidge, E)

The interesting findings of the Tycho Brahe’s supernova are important in the understanding of aging stars— the past, present, and future of the universe in general. Photo Credit: Nasa/AP)=0=