Sunday, June 15, 2008
NASA's GALEX satellite has provided astronomers with a sight never before witnessed: the blast of ultraviolet light that comes just ahead of a star going spuernova. The phenomenon had been predicted, but couldn't be seen through Earth's atmosphere. A supernove is normally noticed only days or weeks after the light from its collapse reaches Earth. Now scientists can observe the whole cycle, which has much to teach about the composition, life, and death of stars in addition to being simply awesome.