8 images of Mercury: Planetary smashup
The supernova reference was an editing error on our part. It's been fixed, but thanks to you and other readers for pointing out our error.
Since the human experience is only a spec of sand in scheme of cosmic time. All that any of us can do is debate on the topic at hand. As no human has been alive long enough to witness or wise enough to wrap their brain around the mechanics of a super nova or solar expansion to a red giant. So please debate but play nicely.
I would respectfully argue that, although you may not be able to, many brilliant physicists have been able to "wrap their brains" around the mechanics of supernovae. Check out the work of Leonard Susskind and Stephen Hawking for some relevant examples. I especially recommend the book "The Black Hole War" by Susskind... it explains these mechanics in a way that a bright lay person can grasp.
Great photos of Mercury and significant facts concerning its surface environment. But the artist's rendition of the Smash-up spoils the factual information of exploration of Mercury. (Facts). The Smash -up theory may one-day happen, but in comparison to human existance and its actual occurrence is beyond present concerns.
Chuckle. Our sun will not supernova. Someone reads too much Science Fiction.
It will swell to a Red giant and consume the inner planets but then shrink to a white dwarf.
If these 'experts' believe our Sun will supernova, they're not experts. Most actual experts believe our Sun will expand to a red giant, then probably burn out into a brown dwarf.
Jerry is absolutely right- there is NO CHANCE of our Sun exploding in a supernova, it does not have enough mass. There isn't even enough mass in the solar system to cause a supernova, if all of a sudden all of the mass were in the Sun itself.
BAD fact checking.
Nova: Slow expansion of a star which is the generally the fate of a main sequence star (such as ours) as it begins the last of it's fissile hydrogen.
Supernova: Rapid expansion (read as cataclysmic explosion) of a star many MANY times the mass of a main sequence star as it depletes the last of its fuel and collapses under its own mass.
Actually, your definition of a nova is incorrect. A nova is formed when a white dwarf orbits a companion star at such a distance that it accretes matter (hydrogen) on its surface, drawn from its companion. Over time, the amount of hydrogen reaches such a mass that it begins a runaway fusion reaction that results in a marked brightening of the star: hence, the term "nova" (new), since these stars appeared to be new stars altogether to observers on earth.