Sunday, May 3, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Explorit: Spectacular supernova sighting in the sky

By
From page A4 | January 31, 2014 |

By Vinita Domier

A relatively bright and very rare cataclysmic stellar explosion known as a supernova was discovered on Jan. 21 in the Cigar Galaxy (M82) in the Ursa Major constellation. As supernova SN2014J is only about 12 million light years away, it is bright enough to be viewed in a small telescope by Northern Hemisphere observers. It is the closest Type Ia supernova discovered since 1972, and the closest supernova of any type discovered since 2004.

Davis Astronomy Club will have free telescope viewing of the supernova at 7 p.m. Saturday at Explorit Science Center, 3141 Fifth St. All ages are welcome to attend the featured presentation indoors, followed by the star party outdoors, weather permitting. We also will look at Jupiter and its moons.

Supernova SN2014J is in the northeastern sky in the evenings north of the Big Dipper bowl, and is visible all night for mid-latitude observers. SN2014J is expected to peak in brightness on Sunday before gradually fading out in the coming weeks. Since its discovery, it already has brightened from a visual magnitude of +11.7 to +10.6. Barring clouds, the new moon on Wednesday created ideal viewing conditions for the next seven to 10 days.

Supernovae occur at the end of the life cycles of big stars. Stellar evolution and life span are predetermined by the size of a star at the time of its formation. Stars are accreted in planetary nebulae, which are primarily composed of hydrogen gas.

Stars shine brightly for millions or billions of years while undergoing thermonuclear fusion reactions. Hydrogen gas is synthesized into heavier elements, and a tremendous amount of energy is released in the form of electromagnetic radiations and charged particles. More massive stars burn through their core fuel at a much faster pace, thereby significantly shortening their life spans.

Stars of different sizes “die” in very different ways when their gaseous fuel is all used up. A small star (size of our sun) transforms into a red giant, then expels its outer layers in planetary nebula, leaving behind a white dwarf core star that eventually may cool to a black dwarf. A much bigger star transforms into a red supergiant, then annihilates in a very bright cataclysmic Type II supernova explosion, leaving behind a dense neutron star core, or even a black hole.

When a white dwarf star is in a binary or multi-star system, its gravity pulls in gaseous material from the close companion star. If the white dwarf reaches the Chandersekhar limit of critical mass (1.44 times solar mass), it becomes unstable and explodes in a bright Type Ia supernova.

Astronomers use Type Ia supernovae as “standard candles” to determine the distances to galaxies where they have been detected, and have used the distance and spectral red-shift data to infer the existence of dark energy that is speeding the universe’s expansion.

————

Explorit’s coming events:

* Explorit’s “Beautiful World: Science and Art” exhibition is open to the public every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. and every Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. Admission is $5 per person; Explorit members, teachers and children ages 2 and under are free.

* After-School Science Adventures for students in kindergarten through sixth grade begin Wednesday afternoons at Explorit in February. Call 530-756-0191 for more information or to register.

— Explorit Science Center is at 3141 Fifth St. For more information, call 530-756-0191, visit www.explorit.org, or “like” Explorit on Facebook at www.facebook.com/explorit.fb.

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

.

News

Breaking barriers: For Prieto, it’s all about hard work

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Council to hear about drought pricing

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

 
For the record

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

 
Peaceful Baltimore demonstrators praise top prosecutor

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Nigeria: Nearly 300 freed women, children led to safety

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Graveyard thefts land three Woodlanders behind bars

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3

Downtown altercation leads to injuries

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

 
Woman arrested for brandishing knife on overpass

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

Yolo DA launches monthly newsletter

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Can plants talk? UCD prof will answer that question

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

A Scottish setting for local author’s next book

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
Free beginner yoga class offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Video discusses surveillance of prostate cancer

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
NAMI support group meets May 10

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Dr. G featured on the radio

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Fee proposed on rail cars that haul oil, other flammables

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Indoor Fun Fly comes to Woodland

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
 
Internships move UCD doctoral students beyond academia

By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Make Mom a warm vanilla sugar scrub

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

 
The secret to Mother’s Day gifting success: Give time, not stuff

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Letter book is series of collected missives thanking Mom

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
If your mom fancies something fancy, consider a tea party

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Out of Africa and back to Davis: James Carey will give special presentation

By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Big Day of Giving makes philanthropy easy

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Tuleyome hosts Snow Mountain camping trip

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12 | Gallery

 
Tuleyome Tales: How are a snake and a mushroom alike?

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12 | Gallery

.

Forum

With sincere gratitude

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

 
A wonderful day of service

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

Please help Baltimore

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

 
End of life doesn’t mean life must end

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4 | Gallery

Advancing education for California’s former foster youths

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

 
Eyewitness to the ‘fall’ of Vietnam: It was not a bloodbath

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5 | Gallery

He can’t give it up

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B6

 
 
Dangers from prescription pills

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

.

Sports

UCD softball splits with Titans

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Trifecta of Devil teams open playoffs Tuesday

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Defending champ DHS clinches a baseball playoff berth

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Making memories at Aggie Stadium

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Sports briefs: DHS boys win to reach lacrosse playoffs

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

UCD roundup: Aggie women speed past Hornets

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

 
Pro baseball roundup: Hudson pitches Giants past Angels

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

Arcadia partners on soybean trait to improve yield

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Marrone opens new greenhouse

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
New firm helps students on path to college

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A8

Yolo County real estate sales

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A8

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, May 3, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B8