Love, love, love these space shots!

Astronomy and Law

More than 400 years ago, a spectacular new star appeared in the night sky.

Shock wave in Kepler's supernova

Johannes Kepler (famous for his laws of planetary motion) wrote a book about the supernova sighting after a week of observation titled “De Stella nova in pede Serpentarii” (“On the new star in Ophiuchus’s foot”, Prague 1606).

File:Johannes Kepler 1610.jpg

The supernova (1604) occurred in the constellation Ophiuchus.

It is the most recent supernova to have been observed by the naked eye in our own galaxy.  This was about the same time period that Galileo was beginning to use the telescope, but most astronomy was still done by looking up at the sky.  The explosion happened about 6 kiloparsecs or about 20,000 light-years from Earth.

1 parsec = 30856775814671900 meters (approximate)

    ≈ 19173512 million miles
    ≈ 206264.806 astronomical units
    ≈ 3.261564 light years


Kepler’s Star (as it was known at the time) was brighter at its peak than…

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