Seeing a Supernova With Your Own Eyes: A Guide

via the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Starting this weekend, you will be able to see a cosmic phenomenon without the aid of a mountaintop telescope or highly politicized university grant. Researchers at the Palomar Observatory in Southern California found a white dwarf star about 1.4 times the mass of our sun at the beginnings of a supernova. It is located in the Pinwheel Galaxy only 21 million light years away--most supernovas are in galaxies 1 billion light years away--which means you will be able to see it with a good pair of binoculars or a small telescope. It will get brighter and brighter until September 9th. After the jump, a list of steps on how to see this really big ball of gas explode.

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Start Bracing for Solar Storms

The magnetic storm that has been developing on the Sun's surface may cause problems down here on Earth soon. Reuters reports that above average solar activity is proving to be a real concern for the Space Weather Prediction Center. They warn that communications and GPS satellites could be affected and are asking that users who rely on these systems prepare for "possible disruptions." Users who rely on these systems include you and everyone you know.

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Heat Wave May Have Caused 34 Deaths; Luckily, It's Leaving the East Coast

fire hydrant .jpg
It's still hot and gross out today, but you'll notice that it's not as oppressive as it was this past week. However, the heat wave that swept the U.S. and put 132 million people under a heat advisory may have claimed as many as 34 lives in the U.S.

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The Sun is 'Waking Up' in a Crappy Mood

Two scoops of pain!
Good news! Our sun is about to enter "solar maximum," the time in its life-cycle when it's at its most active. Wait a second, that's bad news. National Geographic reports that within the next couple of years, massive sun storms will possibly knock out GPS systems, blow up power plant transformers, and delete the Beatles' entire catalog from existence (we made that last one up, but if the sun is a big enough asshole to mess with Google Maps, where the hell does it stop?).

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