Sunday, September 21, 2014
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

Elementary school counselors: necessary, but poorly funded

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Bet Haverim hosts High Holy Day services

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1

 
Teams assess damage as wildfire burns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Driver arrested for DUI after Saturday morning crash

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

Help raise funds for juvenile diabetes cure

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Jewelry, art for sale at Senior Center

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Davis Community Meals needs cooks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
UC campus chancellors granted hefty pay raises

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Send kids to camp!

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Da Vinci awarded $38,000 for restorative justice program

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

 
Hawk Hill trip planned Sept. 30

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Outdoor yoga marathon celebrates community

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

Wise words

By Sue Cockrell | From Page: A12

 
.

Forum

Awareness is key to this fight

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Where is this going?

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A6

We’re living in the Golden State of emergency

By Debra DeAngelo | From Page: A6

 
Options for protection come with flu season

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Are we there yet? Not enough hours in the day to goof off

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A6Comments are off for this post

 
Paso Fino — it’s not worth it

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Archer will get my vote

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
It’s time for Davis Scouts to stand up for what is right

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

Mike Keefe cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

 
Building something at schools’ HQ

By Our View | From Page: A10

Don’t sell city greenbelt

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Paso Fino project is flawed

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Speak out

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Maybe David can beat Goliath again

By Lynne Nittler | From Page: A11 | Gallery

.

Sports

DHS gets on its Morse to beat Edison

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
JV Blue Devils drop low-scoring affair

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B2

 
Wire briefs: Giants rally falls short in San Diego

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Four local swimmers qualify for Olympic Trials

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

 
Republic FC’s fairy tale season continues

By Evan Ream | From Page: B3 | Gallery

‘We’re a way better team’ than record, says UCD’s Shaffer

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
UCD roundup: Aggie men pound Pomona-Pitzer in the pool

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B4

Davis 15-year-old making a splash in European F4 series

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
.

Features

.

Arts

‘Ladies Foursome’ adds shows

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
.

Business

UCD grad’s startup earns kudos at TechCrunch event

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
Styles on target for November debut

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A7

MBI hires VP of marketing

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Rob White: What is an ‘innovation center’?

By Rob White | From Page: A9

Taylor Morrison unveils new Woodland community next weekend

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

Carol L. Walsh

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, September 21, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B8