Author Topic: Capella Supernova  (Read 3265 times)

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Offline joek

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First a quick question for all the astronomy people: what is the range of destruction (in light years) of a supernova? (Like, if Alpha Centari went supernova, we know we would be toasted with intense radiation, but how far would it reach?)

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Offline karajorma

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Alpha centuri won`t go supernova so it's a hard question to answer. I`m gonna have a look at some astronomy stuff and try to figure out an answer though. (I need to know myself for a campaign I`m working on too).
 Supernovae are nasty things for nearby star systems but the stars that do go bang tend to be much more massive than capella or AC.
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Well, Since Alpha Centauri consists of more than one star, there might be a chance of a Nova, but doubtful.  Also, if it went Nova, we wouldn't know for about 4 years.  As for far reachingness, it would probably play hell for our system, but we are fortunate enough to be relatively shielded by the outer planets, our atmosphers, and our own star, so who really knows.

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Offline ^Graff

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I read somewhere that a nova 30 years away could vaporise or knock the Earth out of orbit.  More than that, and the radiation could probably still get us.
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Offline Carl

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Originally posted by ^Graff:
I read somewhere that a nova 30 years away could vaporise or knock the Earth out of orbit.  More than that, and the radiation could probably still get us.

*opens calculator* 30 light years away, 30r^2= area of 2826 light years times 5.9 trillion miles (one light year)= 16,673,400,000,000 miles^3. the outer shell of one star spread over 16,673,400,000,000 miles^3 wouldn't hurt a fly.
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Offline Pavonis

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Right. It would, however, create local gravitational conditions and energy-constants that are conducive to creating new stars.

^Graff is also right. EM radiation would have extreme effects in systems up to a hundred light years away.

 

Offline joek

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  Yes, I know Alpha Centari won't go supernova, but it was an example of "what if" a star some 4 light years from us did go supernova (we'd be fried... well maybe all of us except those little sea-floor vent creatures who live under so many tons of water).

My point is "how far is a safe distance from a Supernova"? (and thank you Carl for giving us some math  ).

Why? Because I used data Eishtmo provided to create a 3D starchart using FRED2. Why FRED2? Because it's the best and simplest 3D program I have that can calculate distances between objects (and because it's one I'm sure everyone else has).

You can download it here.

By measuring distances from Capella, you can see that Aldebaran would be the first to get hit by the light of Capella's supernova in 35.97 light years. Next in line is Procyon at 36.15 light years, and then Sirius at 39.46 light years. Capella's nearest "node neighbors", Vega and Epsilon Pegasi, would be hit 50.45 and 529.78 light years later (respectively).

So, if the GTVA keeps pushing refugees from one system to another, it seems like eventually everyone would be at Deneb, 1591.89 light years away.  

Enjoy.
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Offline Sandwich

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Wow, that's... a lot of effort. Of course, the FS2 nodemap doesn't follow the real star positions, so you could argue either way. If that was the case, the farthest systems from Capella are Dubhe and Alphard.

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Offline an0n

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The explosion itself wouldn't do ****  to anything outside the system, but the radiation and subsequent nebula would **** -over everything it touched. Nebulas range in size from a lightyear to hundreds of ly's so it really depends on how long the nebula had to spread and the initial force.

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AFAIK, Capella is too small to spontaneously go supernova in its own lifetime. Therefore, any artificial supernova doesn't have much star material to work with, and thus the shockwave, nebula, radiation, etc will be relatively small compared to most nebulas and supernovas out there. However, if the fact that Capella (in real life) is a binary system is taken into account, then a supernova by one would induce a long series of novas in the other.

 

Offline Vertigo1

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Quote
Originally posted by an0n:
The explosion itself wouldn't do ****  to anything outside the system, but the radiation and subsequent nebula would **** -over everything it touched. Nebulas range in size from a lightyear to hundreds of ly's so it really depends on how long the nebula had to spread and the initial force.


Exactly.  The shockwave would dissipate rapidly.  Much like nukes detonating on land.  If they didn't dissipate, then we'd all be dead and the end of the world would be after the first real test of the atom bomb.

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Offline Eishtmo

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Originally posted by Labcoatguy:
AFAIK, Capella is too small to spontaneously go supernova in its own lifetime.

Oh, I'm sorry, but that's wrong.  Thanks for playing and here's a copy of our home game.

Well, sort of wrong.  Capella is actually made of four stars, two red dwarfs, and two yellow giants.  The important word in that sentence is 'giant,' meaning that those two stars are much, much bigger than our sun, lending them to going supernova at some point.  How soon is up for debate, however.  The two red dwarfs, however, will never go supernova, so you were kind of right.

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Offline Shrike

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Quote
Originally posted by Eishtmo:
Oh, I'm sorry, but that's wrong.  Thanks for playing and here's a copy of our home game.

Well, sort of wrong.  Capella is actually made of four stars, two red dwarfs, and two yellow giants.  The important word in that sentence is 'giant,' meaning that those two stars are much, much bigger than our sun, lending them to going supernova at some point.  How soon is up for debate, however.  The two red dwarfs, however, will never go supernova, so you were kind of right.

The problem is, the FS2 Capella is not a red giant, it looks similar to our sun.  So that makes things a bit more difficult.

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Offline karajorma

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The two Capella yellow giants are already off the main sequence and at more than 2 solar masses either or both could go supernova. However yellow giants don`t go supernova (as far as I`m aware they have to become red giants first).
 As far as the mass involved capella is right at the bottom end of the supernova scale. Even if both stars blew we are still only talking about 5 solar masses (small change in terms of supernovae)
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Offline Eishtmo

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You guys have your sequencing wrong.  First of all, there is no red giant phase in a supernova sequence.  On the main sequence there is, and after that is the formation of a planetary nebula (yes, that's what its called, I don't know why they call it that either) and a white dwarf formation.  In a supernova sequence, the star burns hot and fast, and dies very, very quickly.  Likely, the Capella stars would simply go supernova with little or no warning, probably forming a neutron star.

I'd have to look it up, but I believe that the Capella stars are classified as supergiants, which are some of the biggest stars around, you know, the kind that forms black holes.

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Offline Sandwich

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Originally posted by Eishtmo:
...the kind that forms black holes.

 

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Offline an0n

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OOOOOhhhhhhhh. There's an idea. A 120km wide blackhole model.  

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Offline joek

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So which type of Capella are we talking about for FS2?

The real Capella where there are four stars, or the Capella which supports a system of planets?

Are any one of the real Capellan stars far enough away from the others so that stable planetary orbits can form (like in the command briefing animation)? If so, then that star is the one being refered to as "Capella" in FS2, and the one the Shivans destroyed.

If not, then I guess you can assume that Volition took some shortcuts and just considered the Capellan stars as one star "Capella".

But in either case, no matter if the Capella star the Shivans destroyed was a red supergiant or a brown dwarf, one thing is certain: it did go supernova. However the Shivans did it, they managed to make a star -- which might not normaly go supernova -- explode in a supernova.

So whether you figure that that is a regular sized supernova, or maybe a mini supernova, it is still a supernova, and there is still going to be an expanding sphere of intense light (radiant energy: x-rays, ultraviolent, visible light) moving outwards at light speed. And in 35.97 years, people at Aldebaran are either going to see a bright sparke of Capella exploding (like we saw for supernova 1987A), or a gigantic explosion of light which burns their eyes, fries their bodies with radiation, and destroys the ozone layer and boils the oceans of their planets.

Whichever the case, whether just a pretty firework or intense death, now you can know how long it is going to take for the fallout of the Capella supernova (which the Shivans caused however they did) to reach other GTVA systems. So that when you're making your campaign, you can know how many years which systems are going to be affected by however much damage you decide Capella's supernova will cause.  

Joe.
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I think V used poetic lisence on that one  

But back to the supernova question. I'm not going to go through everything I know about supernovas, cause that would take too long.

When a star goes Super N, a hell of a lot of energy is released, destroying evrything in the system save for the biggest planets nd outermost comets. But - the distance between the sun and any star going supernova is so big, hardly any of this energy will rech us.

No kinetic energy from the blast will reach us, so Earth won't be knocked out of orbit. The Nebula won't do jack to earth because it's actually less dense than a labortory vacuum (FS2 Nebulas are deceptive) and has no energy because it's so cold by the time it get's here - if it get's here.

The only thing that could be dangerous is Gamma Radiation which could wreak havoc with the atmosphere and give you one hell of a sun tan. Appart from that, you hve more to fear from the Sun turning into a Red Giant in a few billion years than from a Supernova in another Star System.

So, bsically, the only thing to worry about from a nearby Super N is radiation.
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