|UND astrophysicist's supernova comments receive global attention|
UND astrophysicist, supernova expert, and eclipse chaser Timothy Young published a commentary in this week's Nature that has made the Washington Post, Space.com, CNN, and other web, print, and electronic media outlets.
A faculty member in the physics department, Young is noted for his work in the observation and description of exploding stars --supernovae -- and for his observations about and Webcasts, with fellow UND colleague, computer scientist Ron Marsh, of several solar eclipses (the Young-Marsh team travels next month to French Guyana for another solar eclipse adventure).
The news is that we have now observed a supernova in real time, said Young. We were able to do that because we predicted that gamma ray bursts (GRBs), or focused sprays of gamma ray energy in space, were early warning signs for a supernova.
The problem until this year was that all of these phenomena are fleeting. We know they happen and often can spot the aftermath, the stellar debris, so to speak, but no one actually has seen a star explode in real time. That changed earlier this year when a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) satellite caught both the GRB and subsequent optical signals later analyzed to show a star blowing up -- a supernova caught on camera, Young says.
Young was called upon by Nature, the worlds leading scientific magazine, to review and comment on the research articles published this week detailing this remarkable discovery.
Some of the rotation and magnetic field of the black hole somehow gets transformed into [gamma-ray] jets, Young explained to a Space.com reporter. Though discovered by Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe in 1572, supernova are still far from being completely understood, Young notes.
For an article about Young and Marshs last solar eclipse trip, check out the following link: http://www.und.edu/news/NEW_SCRIPTS/newsrelease.jsp?id=1771