|"THE FIELD GUIDE TO
|A delicate ribbon of gas floats eerily in our galaxy. This photo, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, is a
remnant of SN 1006, a stellar explosion that occurred more than 1000 years ago. On or around May 1st,
1006 A.D., observers from Africa to Europe to the Far East witnessed and recorded the arrival of light from
a supernova explosion caused by the final death throes of a white dwarf star nearly 7,000 light years away,
and surpassed Venus as the brightest object in the night time sky, only to be surpassed by the moon. It
was visible even during the day for weeks, and remained visible to the naked eye for at least 2.5 years
before fading away. The size of the remnant implied that the blast wave from the supernova had expanded
at nearly 20 million miles per hour over the nearly 1000 years since the explosion occurred. The twisting
filament ribbon of light shows where the expanding blast wave is now sweeping into very tenuous
surrounding gas. The bright edges within the ribbon correspond to places where the shock wave is seen
exactly edge on to our line of sight. SN 1006 has a diameter of nearly 60 light years, and is still expanding
at roughly 6 million miles per hour. In this image, many background galaxies (orange extended objects) far
off in the distant universe can be seen dotting the image. The white dots are foreground or background
stars in our galaxy.
One light-year = traveling @ 186,000 miles per second,
x 60 seconds per minute, x 60 minutes per hour,
x 24 hours in one day, x 365 days per year!
Multiplied By 7,000 To Reach Remnant SN 1006!
To walk 1 light-year, at a moderate pace of 20 minutes a mile, it would take you 225 million years to
complete your journey, (not including stops for meals or the restroom). If you started just before
dinosaurs appeared on Earth, you'd probably be finishing your hike just about now. Even if you hitched a
ride on N.A.S.A.'s Mach 9.68x- 43A Hypersonic Scram Jet, the fastest aircraft in the world, it would take
about 95,000 years to cover the distance.
You'll need a pretty big travel bag too; for walking such a distance requires substantial supplies. You'd
need 2 trillion Power Bars to fuel your trip. You'd also produce a heap of worn-out shoes. The typical pair
of sneakers will last you 500 miles, so you'd burn through some 11.8 billion pairs of shoes; and all that
effort wouldn't get you very far, astronomically speaking, because the closest star to our Sun, is Proxima
Centauri which is 4.22 light-years away!
|And, My 52 Minute CD:
|"The Companion CD
To The Field Guide"