Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Colliding Stars: The Etiology of the Heavy Elements In Ancient Egypt

"They [Egyptians] consider that the world had a beginning and will have an end, and that it is a sphere; they think that the stars are fire, and that it is by a combination of them that things on earth are generated." -- Diogenes Laertius, historian, Lives of the Preeminent Philosophers, Introduction, 3rd century

Chang, K., Two Stars Collide; A New Star Is Born, The New York Times, Jun 2000
At the meeting, the first devoted to interstellar collisions, astronomers said they had detected what appeared to be the aftermath of a three-star collision. Scientists are also hoping to find evidence of collisions involving ultra-dense neutron stars and black holes by detecting telltale gravitational ripples.

The first clue of interstellar collisions came in the 1950's when astronomers looked at clusters of stars they knew to be nearly as old as the universe and saw what appeared to be large, young blue stars.
Sutherland, P., Colliding Stars Spark New Cosmic Blast, Skymania, May 2007
Astronomers have had their first ever grandstand view of a dramatic collision between two stars. The ‘cosmic car crash’ created a new type of explosion that had not previously been recognised in the universe.

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