Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Literally, a death spiral

I saw this story posted on Slashdot in the general science category

The link leads to a a Hubble telescope image of a very rare and hard to find object in the universe. It is hard to find because it is so faint; it is being illuminated by reflected starlight only. Wow! The Hubble used a very long exposure time to capture this image. (The area is glowing in the infrared, though.)

Update : 2010-09-07
I took a second look at the image and noticed two things: (1) the red giant star had generated vast amounts of carbon which have been shed into space (carbon nanosheets, nanoballs, hydrocarbons?) (2) its striking blue color.

Now, it could be that the color blue is present for the same reason that the sky is blue- all other colors are more scattered than blue wavelengths. Consider that all life on earth is carbon based, and must have originated in stars like this one; and consider that the remains of the red giant could re-coalesce into a planetary nebula that contains all of the elements necessary for life, especially if the debris from the star contains hydrogen and oxygen as well. In that case it's the building blocks for comets and planetary oceans. Now we can begin to draw comparisons to the "first world" of the Navajo creation myth. Interestingly, the "color" of the characters in the myth is important, with many characters centered on the color blue for some reason.

Oh, and Mandrake, did you realize that 70% of you is water?

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