Antimatter Supernova -The Biggest Bomb in the Cosmos
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March 12, 2010

Antimatter Supernova -The Biggest Bomb in the Cosmos

Dn11799-2_600 We've recently seen the largest explosion ever recorded: a supergiant star two hundred times bigger than the sun utterly obliterated by runaway thermonuclear reactions triggered by gamma ray-driven antimatter production.  The resulting blast was visible for months because it unleashed a  cloud of radioactive material over fifty times the size of our own star, giving off a nuclear fission glow visible from galaxies away.


The super-supernova SN2007bi is an example of a "pair-instability" breakdown, and that's like calling an atomic bomb a "plutonium-pressing" device.  At sizes of around four megayottagrams (that's thirty-two zeros) giant stars are supported against gravitational collapse by gamma ray pressure.  The hotter the core, the higher the energy of these gamma rays - but if they get too energetic, these gamma rays can begin pair production: creating an electron-positron matter-antimatter pair out of pure energy as they pass an atom.  Yes, this does mean that the entire stellar core acts as a gigantic particle accelerator. 

The antimatter annihilates with its opposite, as antimatter is wont to do, but the problem is that the speed of antimatter explosion - which is pretty damn fast - is still a critical delay in the gamma-pressure holding up the star. The outer layers sag in, compressing the core more, raising the temperature, making more energetic gamma rays even more likely to make antimatter and suddenly the whole star is a runaway nuclear reactor beyond the scale of the imagination.  The entire thermonuclear core detonates at once, an atomic warhead that's not just bigger than the Sun - it's bigger than the Sun plus the mass of another ten close by stars. 

The entire star explodes.  No neutron star, no black hole, nothing left behind but an expanding cloud of newly radioactive material and empty space where once was the most massive item you can actually have without ripping space.  The explosion alone triggers alchemy on a suprasolar scale, converting stars' worth of matter into new radioactive elements.

And we saw this.  This really happened.  


Luke McKinney


Supergiant Supernova 

Comments

M O I S T ! ! !

Wow! That's massive! And impressive to say the least... When did this happen??

This article fills me with emotions. From awe, inspiration and admiration of the science and the human brain that manages to explore the cosmos, to sadness and bitterness of the last paragraph. So true.

There are many these types of rocks moving in the sky facing earth.

What a horrendous bomb!
Must be a relic of some alien civilization.

@ Srini, it was observed in the year 2007. That's how it's catalog number is generated (SN2007bi).

You can find a bit more information about it (plus sources) at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SN_2007bi

Wow, thats some pretty scary stuff dude.

jess
www.fbi-logfiles.int.tc

WOW!!!!!! Seriously you say this happened and we saw it. But when?????

Didn't read this article because a loud talking lady advertising saint lucia appeared on my screen. Not only this, but the advertisement had no obvious close button.

This proves the existence of a fully operational death star. Warm up the X-wings. Be careful it could be a trap!

I get to your site, and not only do you play something, unrequested, WITH AUDIO ON - but it's actually nothing more than an advertisement? Are you kidding.

This has been the single most intrusive experience of my browsing days - good stuff - you clearly know what you're doing.

@searing, thanks! Must have been an awesome to be able to observe.

Was it possible to capture this viewing on motion picture/ video/ recording ? Please share sight.

cool interpretation of events. my only objection is with the use of terms like "megayottagrams". dude! talk about pretty obscure terminology. I know it'll probably replace the Dewey decimal system about 1000 years after everyone converts to metric. why not use something easier to interpret maybe like G32? nobody's ever heard of that either and it's easier to understand.

I wish i was told this while it was happening not after :(

Given the scale of this thing, is it possible (however unlikely) that such events can lead to free antimatter being ejected out into space?

It is dishonest to call this an antimatter supernova. The matter in this star is ordinary, but the extraordinary circumstances of the explosion cause pair production. That's a very different story from your headline and first paragraph which imply either an antimatter star has exploded or an extraordinary amount of stable antimatter has been produced.

Thousands of people may get the wrong idea about this phenomena due to this use of language.

It's all George W. Bush's fault.

Very interesting article. I see that you have a Digg widget box, I tried to submit this article to Digg, but Digg says that your url is too long. Shorten your urls a bit! Thanks.

So, that would be a kilo-hellagram?

damn you bin laden !

If video or even stills of this event ever surface, would you be so kind as to share? It'd beat the hell out of anything that Lucas has ever sold.

thank you ccc123ccc--I, too, am deeply angered by the deceptive language of astronomers. Antimatter supernova, indeed! Technically, the phenomenon is known as a PIBSttburg: Pair Instability Breakdown Stellar thingy-that-blowed-up-real-good.

It's amazing how many people read what you have written and don't understand one word. I am awed.

"as antimatter is wont to do".

Ok then.


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