The biggest explosions in the universe dwarf any we see on Earth. In space, we regularly witness exploding stars that can shine brighter than the rest of a galaxy as a supernova, or a black hole ripping apart a star that's visible from billions of light years away in what's called a Tidal Disruption Event (TDE). In this talk, astrophysicist Yvette Cendes will discuss how we observe cosmic explosions from Earth and learn about them, from Chinese records thousands of years ago to her modern-day observations as a radio astronomer. This will include Yvette's research on supernovae, such as the closest one ever observed to Earth -- Supernova 1987A -- and outflows from TDEs that "spaghettify" stars that wander too close to black holes.
About Yvette Cendes: Dr. Yvette Cendes is a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, where she specializes in transient radio astronomy. Yvette has written for several publications, including Astronomy, Discover and Scientific American, and is currently the astronomy consultant for Guinness World Records. Additionally, Yvette is known by many as /u/Andromeda321 on Reddit, where her "astronomer here!" comments are read by millions around the world.
About Observatory Night: The Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian sponsors Observatory Nights on select Thursdays of the month. Observatory Nights feature a non-technical lecture intended for high-school age and older audiences but children are also welcome. This semester's events will be live streamed on the CfA's Facebook and YouTube Channels.