Friday, August 21, 2009

Best Science Visualization Video of 2009

Above is a video of a Type Ia supernova, which in theory is a exploding white dwarf star in a binary system. A white dwarf is the remnant of a star that has completed its normal life cycle and has ceased nuclear fusion.

Here's what you're seeing- this movie shows a simulation of Type Ia supernovae exploding from multiple ignition points. When the hot ash breaks through the surface of the star, it spreads rapidly across the stellar surface, converges at the opposite point and produces a jet-like flow that triggers a detonation.

As beautiful as they are complex, supernovas are very interesting. They're extremely luminous and they can radiate as much energy as the sun emits over its entire life span in just weeks or months. Think about that. The Sun was formed about 4.5 billion years ago and it releases enough sunlight (energy) to support all life on Earth via photosynthesis.

If you want to see more interesting science visualizations and read more about this type of supernova, check out this Wired Science article

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