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SciShow Space shares the latest news from the around the universe, including the first supernova observed in real time, and Internet service on the moon. Finally!
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 Introduction (0:00)

For the very first time in the history of science, astronomers have observed a supernova in real time, at least as the light hit the earth. And it happened to be from a particularly big and powerful type of star, 20 times larger than the sun and 5 times as hot; self-destructing in an appropriately amazing explosion.

The observation changed the way we understand this kind of star and is paving the way for other real time observations of space phenomena. And also, you can now watch SciShow space on the moon.

I'm Hank Green and welcome to another episode of SciShow Space News.


 Supernova Observed in Real Time (0:33)

Supernovas, the explosion of stars too massive to withstand their own gravitation are kind of the definition of awesome. Often brighter than 10 billion suns, they're also pretty rare in the observable universe. Until recently, we only got to see one supernova a century and because of that, there is a long list of things that we do not know about them. Last week, astronomers working at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory shrank that list, publishing the first real time observation of a supernova as its light arrived at earth.

The discovery was made a year ago by a new system designed to alert astronomers about supernovas and other celestial events as soon as they begin, with the sort of failed band name title of Intermediate Palomar Transient Factory.

Last May, a telescope at Mount Palomar, in California, picked up the first signs of the supernova and the computer that sifts through the telescopes data sent an alert to astronomers who worked quick to train an array of space and earth based telescopes on the explosion within 15 hours of its detection.

Hawaii's Keck Telescope measured chemical signatures in the supernova's light spectrum early enough that astronomers were able to identify what kind of star it had been. And it turns out to have been a rare Wolf-Rayet Start, a type of star so massive that it fuses heavy elements like sodium, magnesium, and even iron.

As these elements rise to the surface of the star they set off incredibly heavy solar winds, shredding up the star's atmosphere and blowing it into space. This intense solar wind can interfere with observations making Wolf-Rayet's especially hard to find and we've never seen one go supernova until now.

Some astronomers were actually beginning to think that maybe these starts couldn't explode and instead just faded away as they lost mass to their solar winds. But now we know that they can because we watched it happen 360 million light-years away.

 Internet on the Moon (2:09)

Speaking of watching, when astronauts return to the moon someday, they'll be able to watch their favorite reality TV shows -or us.

The first broadband connection to the moon completed by the MIT Lincoln Lab and NASA is meant to improve communication between astronauts and earth based mission controllers. But as the team will demonstrate at a conference next week, the connection is strong enough to stream like an episode of Game of Thrones if you wanted to. Sorcery!

The project called the Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration kicked off last September. It uses 4 telescopes that transmit laser pulses instead of radio waves from a ground terminal in New Mexico to a moon orbiting satellite that we've told you about before, the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer or LADEE.

Between the 4 telescopes, this signal is able to pierce clouds and other interference in our atmosphere to reach the satellite where it's channeled into a fiber optic cable, amplified about 30,000 times, converted into electrical pulses, and transmitted to a receiver.

About 48 hundred times faster than radio, it's the first two way communication system using lasers instead of radio waves; and NASA is calling it the next generation of communication technology.

They're hoping future near earth missions will use it too and they are also looking at extending their reach to Mars and deep space in the not so distant future. Next generation indeed.

 Outro (3:22)

Thanks for joining me for this update of the week's space news. If you want to keep exploring the universe with us, check out to learn how you can help support SciShow Space. And don't forget to go to and subscribe.