Powerful Ancient Explosions Explain New Class of Supernovae

Astronomers affiliated with the Supernova Legacy Survey (SNLS) have discovered two of the brightest and most distant supernovae ever recorded, 10 billion light-years away and a hundred times more luminous than a normal supernova. Their findings appear in theDec. 20 issue of the Astrophysical Journal.
These newly discovered supernovae are especially puzzling because the mechanism that powers most of them -- the collapse of a giant star to a black hole or normal neutron star -- cannot explain their extreme luminosity. Discovered in 2006 and 2007, the supernovae were so unusual that astronomers initially could not figure out what they were or even determine their distances from Earth.

Star in a Box upgraded

The lifecycle of stars is one of the core parts of the science curriculum in many countries around the World. It is, however, one of the more challenging parts of the curriculum for teachers. Many teachers are not specialists in astronomy and possibly did not study physics past their own school careers. This presents a significant problem when they come to teach the unfamiliar topics they meet in astronomy.

For this reason we created Star in a Box. It is a resource which allows people to explore the evolution of stars through different stages of their lives.

We have just released a new version of it based on consultation with a teacher focus group from Cardiff UK. Some of the new features are:

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