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Ep. 22, Page 96
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Comic 1722 - Ep. 22, Page 96

2nd Oct 2014, 5:16 AM in Episode 22 :: Save My Place | Load My Place
Average Rating: 5 (3 votes)

Author Notes:

smbhax 2nd Oct 2014, 5:16 AM edit delete
Hints of elusive early stars found (BBC) discusses results from recent research that scanned sky survey data looking for "low-metallicity" stars—stars "with 1,000 times less iron than that found in our Sun." The idea is that among these should be stars that are the direct descendents of the very first stars: stars that formed a few hundred million years after the Big Bang, when there was nothing around but hydrogen and helium—so they were able to grow very large, over 100 times as massive as our Sun; there are some modern stars that big, but in general, the metals that the first and succeeding stars formed limits the size to which modern stars are able to grow, according to the article. Stars that massive (or more specifically, from 130 to 250 solar masses) only live for about 3 million years (our tiny Sun, on the other hand, is a little more than halfway through its expected 8 billion year lifespan), and don't leave remnants like black holes when they go supernova; instead, they undergo a pair-instability supernova, in which gamma rays being generated in the intense heat and pressure of the star's core first cause it to expand, but, as they become more abundant and more powerful, their energy instead goes into creating electron-positron matter-antimatter particle pairs, which annihilate each other: the gamma rays and particles disappear, there is no longer sufficient energy to hold the star up against its own gravity, and it collapses suddenly, rebounding in a particularly violent supernova that blows it apart completely. In theory. So far the findings bear out the theory about the first stars, but since that first generation of stars died fairly soon after the Big Bang, it will take a very powerful telescope, such as perhaps NASA's upcoming James Webb Space Telescope, to be able to pick up their extremely distant/old/faint light.


Here's one of a number of rejected heads I started drawing for today's page:


As I was doing them I posted 'em on my tumblr/Twitter/Instagram. There were more but I started getting a little flustered. ; ) Problem is I generally start out drawing the eyes, then the head, then the body attached to it (this is probably a bad habit : P), so if I then go back and find that I have to redo the head (the original one and many of the later ones I tried were too small : ppp), it's a lot trickier than drawing it to start with. Darn heads! : P


DizzasterJuice 2nd Oct 2014, 6:16 AM edit delete reply
Interesting stuff. They try to classify stars into 3 categories for metallicity, Population I, II, and III with I being the youngest with the most heavy elements. Population III, a population of huge stars that formed the first 26 elements via nucleosynthesis that had no metals at all, have theoretically been destroyed in supernovae. Like you said, they were too big to live long.
What really blows my mind is that Population II stars that have life bearing planets would be billions of years more advanced than us. Our sun is a Population I.
smbhax 3rd Oct 2014, 8:00 AM edit delete reply
Yeah although the Sun will toast us when it goes all red giant in another billion years or so. : oo
moizmad 3rd Oct 2014, 11:48 AM edit delete reply
I heard the Sun wouldn't use up all it's hydrogen for almost 3 billion more years, then it starts burning helium and that's when it starts expanding to a giant over the next 2 billion years. We should be living on the moons of Saturn by then.
cattservant 2nd Oct 2014, 7:04 AM edit delete reply
Question her answers.
smbhax 3rd Oct 2014, 8:01 AM edit delete reply
We want answers!!
moizmad 2nd Oct 2014, 4:49 PM edit delete reply
Oh I knew Dizz would find this comic soon. Now we can solve the mystery of the Universe. Beings a billion years older than us? What would they be like? Could we ever communicate with them? Can space be folded? Will Selenis ever marry?
smbhax 3rd Oct 2014, 8:02 AM edit delete reply
She could marry Thierry! She's got him on a microchip. ^_^ And come to think of it I just thought of a reason (aside from marriage, I mean) she may end up bringing him back.