Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Textbooks - An Endangered Species?

Of course we all know that textbooks are destined to become extinct. In some professions it is called planned obsolescence.

It is becoming less and less of a rarity for scientists to say "oops, I guess we did not understand that as well as we thought we did".

Stellar evolution has been one of the more solid theories upon which cosmologists tell us what "it is all about Alfie", yet from time to time science experiences unplanned obsolescence.

Recently a star has exploded billions of years before its time, endangering many textbooks on the subject.

Commenting on an article written in the journal Nature, an article at the website "Space" quotes Nature as follows:
A massive star a million times brighter than our sun exploded way too early in its life, suggesting scientists don't understand stellar evolution as well as they thought.

"This might mean that we are fundamentally wrong about the evolution of massive stars, and that theories need revising," said Avishay Gal-Yam of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel.

According to theory, the doomed star, about 100 times our sun's mass, was not mature enough to have evolved a massive iron core of nuclear fusion ash, considered a prerequisite for a core implosion that triggers the sort of supernova blast that was seen.
(Space). That means an article here at Dredd Blog, expressing optimism about the time our star will grant to us before it becomes hell fire and brimstone, may have to become extinct too.

Which could strengthen the EPH theory ... but that is another story.

An interesting fact about this super nova is that it happened 215 million years ago. The light from the super nova reached us in 2005.

The star which exploded seemed fine according to 1997 light which was reaching us at that time. It is strange that the sky we see at night "now" is actually what was happening a long time ago.

1 comment:

  1. Textbooks have said for years that the early earth was not as oxygen rich as it is now.

    New discoveries show this not to be the case. The new evidence indicates that for the past 3.6 billion years the earth has had about the same amount of oxygen.