Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A Born Again Star

Perhaps the brightest nova ever seen.

This is a not a supernova, but a nova. A supernova is the death of a single massive star after it runs out of fuel. Our sun is not massive enough to end its productive life as a supernova 1. Instead its out-of-fuel fate is to simmer on (with a inoperative fusion engine) as a white dwarf-- which is more or less a dead medium sized star. However, if there is a nearby star (a so-called binary system) then the white dwarf can steal material from its companion and its fusion engine can reignite.

In other words a nova is a redeemed star that has been born again. You don't have to be Fellini to see the metaphor.

Of course if you are a Young Earth Creationist you could argue that this is but a false memory, kind of like if Adam had false memories of getting a Thomas the Tank Engine on his fourth birthday. That God placed the light, in transit, as if two stars collided 200,000 years, ago although they never did--they never even existed. God did that. Because reasons.

1 This is set to occur in about five billion years. The inner Hal Lindsey in me predicts that Jesus will return before then. What the astronomical and cosmological ramifications of the Parousia are--about those I cannot speculate.

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