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Thread: Self-taught astronomer makes monumental discovery

  1. #1
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    Self-taught astronomer makes monumental discovery

    This dude caught a supernova when it was just going off. And that is total dumb luck, but he was smart enough to recognize what he had.

    Self-taught astronomer makes monumental discovery

    The moment he saw the brilliant light captured by his camera, “it all clicked” for Victor Buso: All the times his parents woke him before sunrise to gaze at the stars, all the energy he had poured into constructing an observatory atop his home, all the hours he had spent trying to parse meaning from the dim glow of distant suns.

    “In many moments you search and ask yourself, why do I do this?” Buso said via email. This was why: Buso, a self-taught astronomer, had just witnessed the surge of light at the birth of a supernova – something no other human, not even a professional scientist, had seen.

    Alone on his rooftop, the star-strewn sky arced above him, the rest of the world sleeping below, Buso began to jump for joy.

    His discovery, reported Wednesday in the journal Nature, is a landmark for astronomy. Buso’s images are the first to capture the brief “shock breakout” phase of a supernova, when a wave of energy rolls from a star’s core to its exterior just before the star explodes. Computer models had suggested the existence of this phase, but no one had witnessed it.

    ...

    Within a few minutes, he noticed something strange in his photographs: a tiny pixel of light that didn’t appear in archive images he found online.

    “I thought, ‘Oh, my God, what is this?’ ” Buso recalled.

    The light didn’t look like a supernova – the usual source of new lights in the sky. (Indeed, “nova” means new star, though supernovas are the explosive deaths of suns that have run out of fuel.) Yet the light just kept getting brighter.
    NYT has a nicer photo of it, if you want to see that.

    On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heartís desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
    -H. L. Mencken

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    Pays to be lucky sometimes. Good for him.
    If it pays, it stays

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    I was on an astronomy forum then when he posted his images. He was sure of what it was and wanted help from professional astronomers on the forum of the process to submit his data.

    I'm glad he finally got the credit. I know a few people tried to discredit his discovery based on him not being a "real" astronomer. That's why I love astronomy. The data wins.
    "What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer."

    link

    Time will tell.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scott View Post
    That's why I love astronomy. The data wins.
    Geez!! If we could only apply that to wild resource management.
    If it pays, it stays

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    Quote Originally Posted by scott View Post
    I was on an astronomy forum then when he posted his images. He was sure of what it was and wanted help from professional astronomers on the forum of the process to submit his data.

    I'm glad he finally got the credit. I know a few people tried to discredit his discovery based on him not being a "real" astronomer. That's why I love astronomy. The data wins.
    Very cool. While luck certainly played a role in this, he also clearly put in the work to be in a position to have the luck and know what he saw.
    Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live...
    Robert Southwell, S.J.

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