5 Remote Friendly Teaching Strategies to Deepen Empathy

During Universal Human Rights Month this December and every month, optimizing classroom activities to foster learning and caring about global human rights is a crucial task of modern educators. For all of the vital information that is available about histories of struggles for human rights and coverage of ongoing struggles, teaching this material demands parallel attention to deepening our capacities for empathy and perspective taking. Based on a bedrock of social-emotional learning (SEL) methodology, Facing History offers these 5 remote-friendly teaching strategies to aid thoughtful teaching in remote and mixed learning environments:

Contracting for Remote Learning
Contracting is the process of openly discussing with students how classroom members will engage with each other and with the learning experience, and it is an important strategy for making the classroom a reflective and respectful community. Since remote learning deeply affects the progression of classroom communication, it is important to update your class contract so it accounts for any new logistical circumstances so students can feel engaged, valued, respected, and heard.

Bio-poem: Connecting Identity and Poetry
“Who am I?” is a question on the minds of many adolescents. This activity helps students clarify important elements of their identities by writing a poem about themselves or about a historical or literary figure. By providing a structure for students to think more critically about an individual’s traits, experiences, and character, bio-poems allow students to build peer relationships and foster a cohesive classroom community.

Reflection upon the complexity of one’s own identity is also crucial for building an empathic bridge to the inner worlds and social lives of others.
[NOTE: We invite you to make logistical tweaks to ensure alignment with your current teaching situation.]

Text-to-Text, Text-to-Self, Text-to-World
Reading comes alive when we recognize how the ideas in a text connect to our experiences and beliefs, events happening in the larger world, our understanding of history, and our knowledge of other texts. This strategy helps students develop the habit of making these connections as they read. When students are given a purpose for their reading, they are able to better comprehend and make meaning of the ideas in the text.

Promoting processing on these multiple levels also trains students to carry this mode of analysis beyond the classroom and apply it in situations where they have the potential to make a difference.
[NOTE: We invite you to make logistical tweaks to ensure alignment with your current teaching situation.]

Graffiti Boards
Virtual Graffiti Boards are a shared writing space (such as Google Docs, Google Jamboard, Padlet, Flipgrid, or VoiceThread) where students can write comments or questions during a synchronous session or during a defined asynchronous time. The purpose of this strategy is to help students “hear” each other’s ideas. Virtual Graffiti Boards create a record of students’ ideas and questions that can be referred to at a later point, and give students space and time to process emotional material.

Students’ responses can give you insight into what they are thinking and feeling about a topic and provide a springboard for both synchronous and asynchronous discussions. Further, this strategy allows students to practice taking in the perspectives of others and trying on others’ experiences in a manner that also provides them with space to process material that may be challenging.

Journals in Remote Learning
Journals play a key role in a Facing History classroom, whether the learning is in person or remote. Many students find that writing or drawing in a journal helps them process ideas, formulate questions, retain information, and synthesize their perspectives and experiences with those of classmates.

Journals make learning visible by providing a safe, accessible space for students to share thoughts, feelings, and uncertainties.

They also help nurture classroom community and offer a way for you to build relationships with your students through reading and commenting on their journals. And frequent journal writing helps students become more fluent in expressing their ideas in writing or speaking.

Facing History and Ourselves invites educators to use our resource collection for remote and hybrid learning, Taking School Online with a Student-Centered Approach.

Topics: Online Learning, Empathy

By Kaitlin Smith
Kaitlin Smith is a Marketing and Communications Writer for Facing History and Ourselves. At Facing History and Ourselves, we value conversation—in classrooms, in our professional development for educators, and online. When you comment on Facing Today, you’re engaging with our worldwide community of learners, so please take care that your contributions are constructive, civil, and advance the conversation.



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WATCH NEXT ▶ https://youtu.be/-mzXW_uBU1w *Hey Hey!* Do you need some remote, distance, online learning hacks to incorporate into your teaching? These tips and strategies for remote teaching will enhance your work-life balance as a teacher and (hopefully) keep you sane during this time. Let me know in the comments if you have any other distance learning/teaching tips that may help other teachers; especially if you are further along in the remote teaching journey than I am! #distancelearning#remotelearning#remoteteaching *SIGN UP* for regular updates HERE https://mailchi.mp/4b53faf5e751/kafoo… *SUBSCRIBE HERE* https://goo.gl/njMj9G Please consider subscribing as I am keen to hit 2000 subscribers this year. 🙂 I’m currently at 1789 at the time of this upload…) *GET* your 2020 Digital Teacher Planner HERE https://gum.co/KHetUa *WATCH* SIMILAR VIDEOS HERE Remote Teaching playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list… Teach From Home Teacher Tag https://youtu.be/sW9TF7v8l1E Classroom Management Tips https://youtu.be/X3TJjNXVcWI 5 Mistakes New Teachers Make https://youtu.be/qygFew2gjZ0 Google Classroom for Beginners https://youtu.be/fRlmgO4FVa0 Remote Teaching in Australia https://youtu.be/-mzXW_uBU1w *CURRENT FAVES* These are the YouTube channels that I am currently watching (and LOVING!) … Janice Wan Vlogs https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvEp… Chronicles of Teacher Tay https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0He… The Michelaks https://www.youtube.com/user/alittleb… Sarah’s Day https://www.youtube.com/user/sarahsda… *GET* your 2020 Digital Teacher Planner HERE https://gum.co/KHetUa Here at Kafoople Land my passion is for you to be able to: 🌸TEACH WELL 🌸LIVE WELL and 🌸BE WELL

Astronauts Have Now Baked Cookies in Space. But What Do They Taste Like?

In this photo made available by U.S. astronaut Christina Koch via Twitter on Dec. 26, 2019, she and Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano pose for a photo with a cookie baked on the International Space Station.

(CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.) — The results are finally in for the first chocolate chip cookie bake-off in space. While looking more or less normal, the best cookies required two hours of baking time last month up at the International Space Station. It takes far less time on Earth, under 20 minutes.

And how do they taste? No one knows.

Still sealed in individual baking pouches and packed in their spaceflight container, the cookies remain frozen in a Houston-area lab after splashing down two weeks ago in a SpaceX capsule. They were the first food baked in space from raw ingredients. The makers of the oven expected a difference in baking time in space, but not that big.

“There’s still a lot to look into to figure out really what’s driving that difference, but definitely a cool result,” Mary Murphy, a manager for Texas-based Nanoracks, said this week. “Overall, I think it’s a pretty awesome first experiment.”

Located near NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Nanoracks designed and built the small electric test oven that was launched to the space station last November. Five frozen raw cookies were already up there.

Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano was the master baker in December, radioing down a description as he baked them one by one in the prototype Zero G Oven.

The first cookie — in the oven for 25 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit (149 degrees Celsius) — ended up seriously under-baked. He more than doubled the baking time for the next two, and the results were still so-so. The fourth cookie stayed in the oven for two hours, and finally success.

“So this time, I do see some browning,” Parmitano radioed. “I can’t tell you whether it’s cooked all the way or not, but it certainly doesn’t look like cookie dough any more.”

Parmitano cranked the oven up to its maximum 325 degrees F (163 degrees C) for the fifth cookie and baked it for 130 minutes. He reported more success.

Additional testing is required to determine whether the three returned cookies are safe to eat.

As for aroma, the astronauts could smell the cookies when they removed them from the oven, except for the first.

That’s the beauty of baking in space, according to former NASA astronaut Mike Massimino. He now teaches at Columbia University and is a paid spokesman for DoubleTree by Hilton. The hotel chain provided the cookie dough, the same kind used for cookies offered to hotel guests. It’s offering one of the space-baked cookies to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum for display.

“The reminder of home, the connection with home, I think, can’t be overstated,” Massimino said. “From my personal experience … food is pretty important for not just nutrition but also for morale in keeping people connected to their home and their Earth.” Eating something other than dehydrated or prepackaged food will be particularly important as astronauts head back to the moon and on to Mars.

Nanoracks and Zero G Kitchen, a New York City startup that collaborated with the experiment, are considering more experiments for the orbiting oven and possibly more space appliances. What’s in orbit now are essentially food warmers.

There’s an added bonus of having freshly baked cookies in space.

“We made space cookies and milk for Santa this year,” NASA astronaut Christina Koch tweeted.

By Marcia Dunn / AP January 25, 2020

Source: Astronauts Have Now Baked Cookies in Space. But What Do They Taste Like?


How Far Is It To The Edge Of The Universe?

Artist's logarithmic scale conception of the observable universe. Galaxies give way to large-scale... [+] structure and the hot, dense plasma of the Big Bang at the outskirts. This 'edge' is a boundary only in time.

If you were to go as far out into space as you can imagine, what would you encounter? Would there be a limit to how far you could go, or could you travel a limitless distance? Would you eventually return to your starting point, or would you continue to traverse space that you had never encountered before? In other words, does the Universe have an edge, and if so, where is it?

Believe it or not, there are actually three different ways to think about this question, and each one has a different answer. If you consider how far you could go if you:

    • left today in an arbitrarily powerful rocket,
    • considered everything that could ever contact us or be contacted by us from the start of the hot Big Bang,
    • or used your imagination alone to access the entire Universe, including beyond what will ever be observable,

You can figure out how far it is to the edge. In each case, the answer is fascinating.

We often visualize space as a 3D grid, even though this is a frame-dependent oversimplification when... [+] we consider the concept of spacetime. In reality, spacetime is curved by the presence of matter-and-energy, and distances are not fixed but rather can evolve as the Universe expands or contracts.

ReunMedia / Storyblocks

The key concept to keep in mind is that space isn’t how we normally conceive of it. Conventionally, we think about space as being like a coordinate system — a three-dimensional grid — where the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, and where distances don’t change over time.

But both of those assumptions, so thoroughly good in our everyday lives, fail spectacularly when we begin looking at the larger-scale Universe beyond our own planet. For starters, the idea that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line falls apart as soon as you start introducing masses and energetic quanta into your Universe. Because spacetime is subject to curvature, which the presence of matter and energy is the cause of, the shortest distance between two points is inherently dependent on the shape of the Universe between those points.

Instead of an empty, blank, three-dimensional grid, putting a mass down causes what would have been... [+] 'straight' lines to instead become curved by a specific amount. In General Relativity, we treat space and time as continuous, but all forms of energy, including but not limited to mass, contribute to spacetime curvature. If we were to replace Earth with a denser version, up to and including a singularity, the spacetime deformation shown here would be identical; only inside the Earth itself would a difference be notable.

Christopher Vitale of Networkologies and the Pratt Institute

In addition to that, the fabric of spacetime itself does not remain static over time. In a Universe filled with matter and energy, a static, unchanging Universe (where distances between points remain the same over time) is inherently unstable; the Universe must evolve by either expanding or contracting. If Einstein’s General theory of Relativity is correct, this is mandatory.

Observationally, the evidence that our Universe is expanding is overwhelming: a spectacular validation for Einstein’s predictions. But this carries with it a series of consequences for objects separated by cosmic distances, including that the distance between them expands over time. Today, the most distant objects we can see are more than 30 billion light-years away, despite the fact that only 13.8 billion years have passed since the Big Bang.

The farther a galaxy is, the faster it expands away from us and the more its light appears... [+] redshifted. A galaxy moving with the expanding Universe will be even a greater number of light years away, today, than the number of years (multiplied by the speed of light) that it took the light emitted from it to reach us. But we can only understand redshifts and blueshifts if we attribute them to a combination of motion (special relativistic) and the expanding fabric of space (general relativistic) contributions both.

Larry McNish of RASC Calgary Center

When we measure how distant a variety of objects are from their physical and luminous properties — along with the amount that their light has been shifted by the Universe’s expansion — we can come to understand what the Universe is made of. Our cosmic cocktail, at present, consists of:

  • 0.01% radiation in the form of photons,
  • 0.1% neutrinos, an elusive, low-mass particle almost as numerous as photons,
  • 4.9% normal matter, made mostly of the same stuff we are: protons, neutrons, and electrons,
  • 27% dark matter, an unknown substance that gravitates but neither emits nor absorbs light,
  • and 68% dark energy, which is the energy inherent to space that causes distant objects to accelerate in their recession from us.

When you combine these effects together, you get a unique and unambiguous prediction for how far it is, at all times past and present, to the edge of the observable Universe.

A graph of the size/scale of the observable Universe vs. the passage of cosmic time. This is... [+] displayed on a log-log scale, with a few major size/time milestones identified. Note the early radiation-dominated era, the recent matter-dominated era, and the current-and-future exponentially-expanding era.

E. Siegel

This is a big deal! Most people assume that if the Universe has been around for 13.8 billion years since the Big Bang, then the limit to how far we can see will be 13.8 billion light-years, but that’s not quite right.

Only if the Universe were static and not expanding would this be true, but the fact is this: the farther away we look, the faster distant objects appear to speed away from us. The rate of that expansion changes in a way that is predictable based on what’s in the Universe, and in turn, knowing what’s in the Universe and observing how fast objects expand tells us how far away they are. When we take all of the available data together, we arrive at a unique value for everything together, including the distance to the observable cosmic horizon: 46.1 billion light-years.

The observable Universe might be 46 billion light years in all directions from our point of view,... [+] but there's certainly more, unobservable Universe, perhaps even an infinite amount, just like ours beyond that. Over time, we'll be able to see more of it, eventually revealing approximately 2.3 times as many galaxies as we can presently view.

Frédéric MICHEL and Andrew Z. Colvin, annotated by E. Siegel

This boundary, however, is not an “edge” to the Universe in any conventional sense of the word. It is not a boundary in space at all; if we happened to be located at any other point in space, we would still be able to detect and observe everything around us within that 46.1 billion light-year sphere centered on us.

This is because that “edge” is a boundary in time, rather than in space. This edge represents the limit of what we can see because the speed of light — even in an expanding Universe governed by General Relativity — only allows signals to travel so far over the Universe’s 13.8 billion year history. This distance is farther than 13.8 billion light-years because of the Universe’s expansion, but it’s still finite. However, we cannot reach all of it.

The size of our visible Universe (yellow), along with the amount we can reach (magenta). If we... [+] accelerated at 9.8 m/s^2 for approximately 22.5 years and then turned around and decelerated for another 22.5 years, we could reach any galaxy within the magenta circle, even in a Universe with dark energy, but nothing outside of it.

E. Siegel, based on work by Wikimedia Commons users Azcolvin 429 and Frédéric MICHEL

Beyond a certain distance, we can see some of the light that was already emitted long ago, but will never see the light that is being emitted right now: 13.8 billion years after the Big Bang. Beyond a certain specific distance — calculated (by me) to be approximately 18 billion light-years away at present — even a signal moving at the speed of light will never reach us.

Similarly, that means that if we were in an arbitrarily high-powered rocket ship, all of the objects presently contained within this 18 billion light-year radius would be eventually reachable by us, even as the Universe continued to expand and these distances continued to increase. However, the objects beyond that would never be reachable. Even as we achieved greater and greater distances, they would recede faster than we could ever travel, preventing us from visiting them for all eternity. Already, 94% of all the galaxies in the observable Universe are beyond our eternal reach.

As vast as our observable Universe is and as much as we can see, it’s far more than we can ever... [+] reach, as only 6% of the volume that we can observe is presently reachable. Beyond what we can observe, however, there is certainly more Universe; what we can see represents only a tiny fraction of what must be out there.

NASA, ESA, R. Windhorst, S. Cohen, and M. Mechtley (ASU), R. O’Connell (UVa), P. McCarthy (Carnegie Obs), N. Hathi (UC Riverside), R. Ryan (UC Davis), & H. Yan (tOSU)

And yet, there is a different “edge” that we might want to consider: beyond the limits of what we can observe today, or even what we can potentially observe arbitrarily far into the future, if we run our theoretical clock towards infinity. We can consider how large the entire Universe is — the unobservable Universe — and whether it folds in on itself or not.

The way we can answer this is based on an extrapolation of what we observe when we try to measure the spatial curvature of the Universe: the amount that space is curved on the largest scale we can possibly observe. If the Universe is positively curved, parallel lines will converge and the three angles of a triangle will sum to more than 180 degrees. If the Universe is negatively curved, parallel lines will diverge and the three angles of a triangle will sum to less than 180 degrees. And if the Universe is flat, parallel lines will remain parallel, and all triangles will contain 180 degrees exactly.

The angles of a triangle add up to different amounts depending on the spatial curvature present. A... [+] positively curved (top), negatively curved (middle), or flat (bottom) Universe will have the internal angles of a triangle sum up to more, less, or exactly equal to 180 degrees, respectively.

NASA / WMAP science team

The way we do this is to take the most distant signals of all, such as the light that’s left over from the Big Bang, and examine in detail how the fluctuations are patterned. If the Universe is curved in either a positive or a negative direction, the fluctuation patterns that we observe will wind up distorted to appear on either larger or smaller angular scales, as opposed to a flat Universe.

When we take the best data available, which comes from both the cosmic microwave background’s fluctuations and the details of how galaxies cluster together on large scales at a variety of distances, we arrive at an inescapable conclusion: the Universe is indistinguishable from perfect spatial flatness. If it is curved, it’s at a level that’s no more than 0.4%, meaning that if the Universe is curved like a hypersphere, its radius is at least ~250 times larger than the part that’s observable to us.

The magnitudes of the hot and cold spots, as well as their scales, indicate the curvature of the... [+] Universe. To the best of our capabilities, we measure it to be perfectly flat. Baryon acoustic oscillations and the CMB, together, provide the best methods of constraining this, down to a combined precision of 0.4%.

Smoot Cosmology Group / LBL

If you define the edge of the Universe as the farthest object we could ever reach if we began our journey immediately, then our present limit is a mere distance of 18 billion light-years, encompassing just 6% of the volume of our observable Universe. If you define it as the limit of what we can observe a signal from — who we can see and who can see us — then the edge goes out to 46.1 billion light-years. But if you define it as the limits of the unobservable Universe, the only limit we have is that it’s at least 11,500 billion light-years in size, and it could be even larger.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that the Universe is infinite, though. It could be flat and still curve back on itself, with a donut-like shape known mathematically as a torus. As large and expansive as the observable Universe is, it’s still finite, with a finite amount of information to teach us. Beyond that, the ultimate cosmic truths still remain unknown to us.

In a hypertorus model of the Universe, motion in a straight line will return you to your original... [+] location, even in an uncurved (flat) spacetime. The Universe could also be closed and positively curved: like a hypersphere.

ESO and deviantART user InTheStarlightGarden

Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

Ethan Siegel Ethan Siegel

I am a Ph.D. astrophysicist, author, and science communicator, who professes physics and astronomy at various colleges. I have won numerous awards for science writing since 2008 for my blog, Starts With A Bang, including the award for best science blog by the Institute of Physics. My two books, Treknology: The Science of Star Trek from Tricorders to Warp Drive, Beyond the Galaxy: How humanity looked beyond our Milky Way and discovered the entire Universe, are available for purchase at Amazon. Follow me on Twitter @startswithabang.

Source: How Far Is It To The Edge Of The Universe?


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This Is How We’d All Die Instantly If The Sun Suddenly Went Supernova

As far as raw explosive power goes, no other cataclysm in the Universe is both as common and as destructive as a core-collapse supernova. In one brief event lasting only seconds, a runaway reaction causes a star to give off as much energy as our Sun will emit over its entire 10-12 billion year lifetime. While many supernovae have been observed both historically and since the invention of the telescope, humanity has never witnessed one up close.

Recently, the nearby red supergiant star, Betelgeuse, has started exhibiting interesting signs of dimming, leading some to suspect that it might be on the verge of going supernova. While our Sun isn’t massive enough to experience that same fate, it’s a fun and macabre thought experiment to imagine what would happen if it did. Yes, we’d all die in short order, but not from either the blast wave or from radiation. Instead, the neutrinos would get us first. Here’s how.

An animation sequence of the 17th century supernova in the constellation of Cassiopeia. This... [+] explosion, despite occurring in the Milky Way and about 60-70 years after 1604, could not be seen with the naked eye due to the intervening dust. Surrounding material plus continued emission of EM radiation both play a role in the remnant's continued illumination. A supernova is the typical fate for a star greater than about 10 solar masses, although there are some exceptions.

NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration. Acknowledgement: Robert A. Fesen (Dartmouth College, USA) and James Long (ESA/Hubble)

A supernova — specifically, a core-collapse supernova — can only occur when a star many times more massive than our Sun runs out of nuclear fuel to burn in its core. All stars start off doing what our Sun does: fusing the most common element in the Universe, hydrogen, into helium through a series of chain reactions. During this part of a star’s life, it’s the radiation pressure from these nuclear fusion reactions that prevent the star’s interior from collapsing due to the enormous force of gravitation.

So what happens, then, when the star burns through all the hydrogen in its core? The radiation pressure drops and gravity starts to win in this titanic struggle, causing the core to contract. As it contracts, it heats up, and if the temperature can pass a certain critical threshold, the star will start fusing the next-lightest element in line, helium, to produce carbon.

This cutaway showcases the various regions of the surface and interior of the Sun, including the... [+] core, which is where nuclear fusion occurs. As time goes on, the helium-containing region in the core expands and the maximum temperature increases, causing the Sun's energy output to increase. When our Sun runs out of hydrogen fuel in the core, it will contract and heat up to a sufficient degree that helium fusion can begin.

Wikimedia Commons user Kelvinsong

This will occur in our own Sun some 5-to-7 billion years in the future, causing it to swell into a red giant. Our parent star will expand so much that Mercury, Venus, and possibly even Earth will be engulfed, but let’s instead imagine that we come up some clever plan to migrate our planet to a safe orbit, while mitigating the increased luminosity to prevent our planet from getting fried. This helium burning will last for hundreds of millions of years before our Sun runs out of helium and the core contracts and heats up once again.

For our Sun, that’s the end of the line, as we don’t have enough mass to move to the next stage and begin carbon fusion. In a star far more massive than our Sun, however, hydrogen-burning only takes millions of years to complete, and the helium-burning phase lasts merely hundreds of thousands of years. After that, the core’s contraction will enable carbon fusion to proceed, and things will move very quickly after that.

As it nears the end of its evolution, heavy elements produced by nuclear fusion inside the star are... [+] concentrated toward the center of the star. When the star explodes, the vast majority of the outer layers absorb neutrons rapidly, climbing the periodic table, and also get expelled back into the Universe where they participate in the next generation of star and planet formation.

NASA / CXC / S. Lee

Carbon fusion can produce elements such as oxygen, neon, and magnesium, but only takes hundreds of years to complete. When carbon becomes scarce in the core, it again contracts and heats up, leading to neon fusion (which lasts about a year), followed by oxygen fusion (lasting for a few months), and then silicon fusion (which lasts less than a day). In that final phase of silicon-burning, core temperatures can reach ~3 billion K, some 200 times the hottest temperatures currently found at the center of the Sun.

And then the critical moment occurs: the core runs out of silicon. Again, the pressure drops, but this time there’s nowhere to go. The elements that are produced from silicon fusion — elements like cobalt, nickel and iron — are more stable than the heavier elements that they’d conceivably fuse into. Instead, nothing there is capable of resisting gravitational collapse, and the core implodes.

Artist's illustration (left) of the interior of a massive star in the final stages, pre-supernova,... [+] of silicon-burning. (Silicon-burning is where iron, nickel, and cobalt form in the core.) A Chandra image (right) of the Cassiopeia A supernova remnant today shows elements like Iron (in blue), sulphur (green), and magnesium (red). We do not know whether all core-collapse supernovae follow the same pathway or not.

NASA/CXC/M.Weiss; X-ray: NASA/CXC/GSFC/U.Hwang & J.Laming

This is where the core-collapse supernova happens. A runaway fusion reaction occurs, producing what’s basically one giant atomic nucleus made of neutrons in the star’s core, while the outer layers have a tremendous amount of energy injected into them. The fusion reaction itself lasts for only around 10 seconds, liberating about 1044 Joules of energy, or the mass-equivalent (via Einstein’s E = mc2) of about 1027 kg: as much as you’d release by transforming two Saturns into pure energy.

That energy goes into a mix of radiation (photons), the kinetic energy of the material in the now-exploding stellar material, and neutrinos. All three of these are more than capable of ending any life that’s managed to survive on an orbiting planet up to that point, but the big question of how we’d all die if the Sun went supernova depends on the answer to one question: who gets there first?

The anatomy of a very massive star throughout its life, culminating in a Type II Supernova when the... [+] core runs out of nuclear fuel. The final stage of fusion is typically silicon-burning, producing iron and iron-like elements in the core for only a brief while before a supernova ensues. Many of the supernova remnants will lead to the formation of neutron stars, which can produce the greatest abundances of the heaviest elements of all by colliding and merging.

Nicole Rager Fuller/NSF

When the runaway fusion reaction occurs, the only delay in the light getting out comes from the fact that it’s produced in the core of this star, and the core is surrounded by the star’s outer layers. It takes a finite amount of time for that signal to propagate to the outermost surface of the star — the photosphere — where it’s then free to travel in a straight line at the speed of light.

As soon as it gets out, the radiation will scorch everything in its path, blowing the atmosphere (and any remaining ocean) clean off of the star-facing side of an Earth-like planet immediately, while the night side would last for seconds-to-minutes longer. The blast wave of the matter would follow soon afterwards, engulfing the remnants of our scorched world and quite possibly, dependent on the specifics of the explosion, destroying the planet entirely.


But any living creature would surely die even before the light or the blast wave from the supernova arrived; they’d never see their demise coming. Instead, the neutrinos — which interact with matter so rarely that an entire star, to them, functions like a pane of glass does to visible light — simply speed away omnidirectionally, from the moment of their creation, at speeds indistinguishable from the speed of light.

Moreover, neutrinos carry an enormous fraction of a supernova’s energy away: approximately 99% of it. In any given moment, with our paltry Sun emitting just ~4 × 1026 joules of energy each second, approximately 70 trillion (7 × 1013) neutrinos pass through your hand. The probability that they’ll interact is tiny, but occasionally it will happen, depositing the energy it carries into your body when it happens. Only a few neutrinos actually do this over the course of a typical day with our current Sun, but if it went supernova, the story would change dramatically.

A neutrino event, identifiable by the rings of Cerenkov radiation that show up along the... [+] photomultiplier tubes lining the detector walls, showcase the successful methodology of neutrino astronomy and leveraging the use of Cherenkov radiation. This image shows multiple events, and is part of the suite of experiments paving our way to a greater understanding of neutrinos. The neutrinos detected in 1987 marked the dawn of both neutrino astronomy as well as multi-messenger astronomy.

Super Kamiokande collaboration

When a supernova occurs, the neutrino flux increases by approximately a factor of 10 quadrillion (1016), while the energy-per-neutrino goes up by around a factor of 10, increasing the probability of a neutrino interacting with your body tremendously. When you work through the math, you’ll find that even with their extraordinary low probability of interaction, any living creature — from a single-celled organism to a complex human being — would be boiled from the inside out from neutrino interactions alone.

This is the scariest outcome imaginable, because you’d never see it coming. In 1987, we observed a supernova from 168,000 light-years away with both light and neutrinos. The neutrinos arrived at three different detectors across the world, spanning about 10 seconds from the earliest to the latest. The light from the supernova, however, didn’t begin arriving until hours later. By the time the first visual signatures arrived, everything on Earth would have already been vaporized for hours.

A supernova explosion enriches the surrounding interstellar medium with heavy elements. The outer... [+] rings are caused by previous ejecta, long before the final explosion. This explosion also emitted a huge variety of neutrinos, some of which made it all the way to Earth.

ESO / L. Calçada

Perhaps the scariest part of neutrinos is how there’s no good way to shield yourself from them. Even if you tried to block their path to you with lead, or a planet, or even a neutron star, more than 50% of the neutrinos would still get through. According to some estimates, not only would all life on an Earth-like planet be destroyed by neutrinos, but any life anywhere in a comparable solar system would meet that same fate, even out at the distance of Pluto, before the first light from the supernova ever arrived.


The only early detection system we’d ever be able to install to know something was coming is a sufficiently sensitive neutrino detector, which could detect the unique, surefire signatures of neutrinos generated from each of carbon, neon, oxygen, and silicon burning. We would know when each of these transitions happened, giving life a few hours to say their final goodbyes during the silicon-burning phase before the supernova occurred.

There are many natural neutrino signatures produced by stars and other processes in the Universe.... [+] Every set of neutrinos produced by a different fusion process inside a star will have a different spectral energy signature, enabling astronomers to determine whether their parent star is fusing carbon, oxygen, neon, and silicon in its interior, or not.

IceCube collaboration / NSF / University of Wisconsin

It’s horrifying to think that an event as fascinating and destructive as a supernova, despite all the spectacular effects it produces, would kill anything nearby before a single perceptible signal arrived, but that’s absolutely the case with neutrinos. Produced in the core of a supernova and carrying away 99% of its energy, all life on an Earth-like would receive a lethal dose of neutrinos within 1/20th of a second as every other location on the planet. No amount of shielding, even from being on the opposite side of the planet from the supernova, would help at all.

Whenever any star goes supernova, neutrinos are the first signal that can be detected from them, but by the time they arrive, it’s already too late. Even with how rarely they interact, they’d sterilize their entire solar system before the light or matter from the blast ever arrived. At the moment of a supernova’s ignition, the fate of death is sealed by the stealthiest killer of all: the elusive neutrino.

Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

I am a Ph.D. astrophysicist, author, and science communicator, who professes physics and astronomy at various colleges. I have won numerous awards for science writing since 2008 for my blog, Starts With A Bang, including the award for best science blog by the Institute of Physics. My two books, Treknology: The Science of Star Trek from Tricorders to Warp Drive, Beyond the Galaxy: How humanity looked beyond our Milky Way and discovered the entire Universe, are available for purchase at Amazon. Follow me on Twitter @startswithabang.

Source: This Is How We’d All Die Instantly If The Sun Suddenly Went Supernova

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Our Sun would never undergo a Supernova explosion. But what if it does? Video clips from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and ESA/Hubble Images by: ESA/NASA, pixabay.com Music: Olympus by Ross Budgen – Music ( https://youtu.be/BnmglWHoVrk ) Licensed under CC BY 4.0 International License We’re on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/astrogeekz/ We’re on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/astrogeekz/ Support us on Patreon.

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Christmas Day Sees The Third, Final And Most Dangerous Solar Eclipse Of 2019

In 2019, Christmas comes a little late in the day for nature lovers, sky-watchers and astronomers as the decade’s final solar eclipse rips across the globe.

Unlike the events of August 21, 2017’s “Great American Eclipse,” this one won’t be visible from North America, and nor will it be as impressive as that day’s total solar eclipse.

What begins at 03:43 a.m. Universal Time on December 26—that’s 10:43 p.m. EST and 7:43 p.m. PST on Christmas Day—is an annular solar eclipse. Since a New Moon is slightly further away than usual, it will appear smaller in the sky so will only block the center of the Sun’s disk. Observers will therefore see a ring around the Sun, and for a maximum of 3 minutes and 40 seconds.

However, it will be dangerous. In essence a partial solar eclipse, solar eclipse glasses must be worn at all times to avoid the threat of blindness. That makes it the most dangerous solar eclipse of 2019, since the peak of July’s total solar eclipse could be viewed with the naked eye.

It’s the third solar eclipse of 2019 after January 6, 2019’s partial solar eclipse in Russia and northeast Asia, and a total solar eclipse in South America on July 2, 2019.

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Where is the annular solar eclipse happening? 

The phenomenon—often referred to as a “ring of fire” or “ring of light”—will be visible at sunrise in Saudi Arabia, and then slightly higher in the sky from a narrow path through Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman, southern India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. The Sun will then set as a “ring” east of Guam in the Pacific Ocean.

Is it safe to look at?

No. At least, not with the naked eye. An annular solar eclipse is effectively a particularly beautiful partial solar eclipse.

At its maximum, the Moon will block 97% of the Sun. That might sound like a lot, but in practice it’s not nearly enough to block the Sun’s light enough to look at the spectacle. So at all times eclipse glasses will be needed, as will solar filters on the front of telescopes or binoculars. That makes it easily the most dangerous solar eclipse of 2019.

However, observers may notice the light levels dim around them in the few minutes either side of “annularity.”

Where’s the best place to watch it? 

As with all astronomical phenomenon, it’s advisable to go to where the spectacle will look its most dramatic, and where there’s the biggest chance of clear skies. Saudi Arabia fulfils both of those needs, and some eclipse-chasers will make their way to near Al-Hufuf around two hours northeast of Riyadh where it may be possible to see a “ring of fire” distorted as a bizarre sideways “D” shape right on the eastern horizon. That was last possible in May 2013 in Western Australia. If you’re planning such a trip, there’s some great advice here.

When is the next annular solar eclipse? 

On June 21, 2020 there will be a rarer and far deeper kind of annular solar eclipse when the Moon very briefly blocks 99% of the Sun as seen from the Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Yemen, Oman, Pakistan, India, Tibet, China, Taiwan and Guam. Seeing a sunrise “ring of fire” will be tricky, and Ethiopia (61 seconds), Oman (37 seconds) or Tibet (23 seconds) is where clear skies are predicted. Those watching from the edge of the path may just glimpse the Sun’s white-hot crown—its corona—which is normally visible as a halo only during totality at a total solar eclipse. Ditto Baily’s beads and even rare shadow bands.

When is the next annular solar eclipse in North America? 

After a very long drought, North America is currently experiencing something of a boom in solar eclipses. In fact, the great American eclipse of 2017, although a major event at the time, will probably be remembered for being merely a precursor to a golden age of eclipses. Perhaps the biggest and most important so that the clips of most North American’s lifetime will be on April 8, 2024, when a total solar eclipse will be observable from 12 states across the U.S. The Great North American Eclipse?

However, before that there are actually two annular total solar eclipses in North America, one in 2021 in Canada and another in 2023 in southwest U.S.:

  • June 10, 2021: A week after a total lunar “blood moon” eclipse, a 94% annular solar eclipse will be visible at sunrise from at northern Ontario, northern Quebec (including the Polar Bear Provincial Park), Greenland and far north-eastern Russia. Expect eclipse-chasers to get into planes to get above the clouds.
  • October 14, 2023: a 95% “ring of fire” at lunchtime from Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico (including Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, Great Basin National Park in Nevada, and four national parks in Utah).

Few people—even experienced eclipse-chasers—travel across the world to see an annular solar eclipse. After all, they’re not considered to be as dramatic as a total solar eclipse (for which eclipse-chasers are prepared to go anywhere on the planet to witness)

Disclaimer: I am the editor of WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com and co-author of “Total Solar Eclipse 2020: A travel and field guide to observing totality in Chile and Argentina on December 14, 2020

Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.

Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website.

I’m an experienced science, technology and travel journalist interested in space exploration, moon-gazing, exploring the night sky, solar and lunar eclipses, astro-travel, wildlife conservation and nature. I’m the editor of WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com and the author of “A Stargazing Program for Beginners: A Pocket Field Guide” (Springer, 2015), as well as many eclipse-chasing guides.

Source: Christmas Day Sees The Third, Final And Most Dangerous Solar Eclipse Of 2019

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Pam talks about the second half of December and the Solar Eclipse in Capricorn on the 25th-26th. Where does this fall in your own birthchart? If you don’t know, check out her two-part tutorial videos at https://gumroad.com/l/FHjOZ. Just download a birthchart free from her website http://www.thenextstep.uk.com, and then use the tutorials to get much more meaning for yourself by better understanding these transits to your birthchart. I have recently filmed around two and a quarter hours of concentrated teaching called Astrological Synthesis. This is the video explaining these: https://youtu.be/EwDyUCdC3r4. These videos are not for absolute beginners, you should at a minimum understand the meaning of the signs, and the house rulerships. If you want to understand these further, I have an Astrological Signs video and my two part Tutorial Video Series, both available via the Products page on my website. The contents covered in Astrological Synthesis are 1) Planetary Symbolism 2) Where Planets Become Stronger 3) Aspects 4) Blending Archetypes 5) Life Theme/Story in the birthchart. These videos do not pretend to offer exhaustive natal chart analysis, but will help to give you some powerful insights that you may not find elsewhere. Here is the link to the global meditation on 12th January organised by The Master Shift: https://www.facebook.com/events/22263…
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