The Universe

Season 4 Episode 4

Biggest Blasts

Aired Tuesday 9:00 PM Sep 08, 2009 on The History Channel
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Episode Summary

The Universe is full of explosions that both create and destroy. The Chicxulub impact on the Yucatan peninsula, which may have wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, was two million times more powerful than the largest nuclear bomb ever detonated on Earth. But guess what? That's only good enough for the very bottom of the Biggest Blasts top ten list. This episode works its way up through supernova explosions and gamma ray bursts all the way to the blast that started it all--the Big Bang.moreless
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    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (0)

    • QUOTES (3)

      • Narrator: Enormous asteroid impacts that rain death from the sky, entire planets colliding and turning worlds into dust, a black hole that's been blowing away the rest of its galaxy for 100 million years, and massive stars that rock the universe like nothing else. Get ready to be blown away in a countdown of 10 of the largest explosions in the cosmos. These are the biggest blasts in the universe.

      • Narrator: This burst came from a galaxy thought to have some incredibly dense neutron stars in binary pairs that orbit each other and scientist believe that the only way to generate such a quick and powerful burst of gamma rays is if two neutron stars engage in a deadly dance, orbiting closer and closer then finally crashing into each other. This is thought to be the moment when a black hole is born.
        Stan E. Woosley: When the two neutron stars finally touch, one of the neutron stars gets shredded into a disk and the thing that's left is too big to be a neutron star. There's no force in the universe that can hold up two neutron stars, so it collapses into a black hole.

      • Narrator: When large stars die, they don't just fizzle out like our sun eventually will, they go out with a bang. There are actually several types, but the two main ways a supernova explosion happens is either when one star in a binary star system swallows part or all of its companion or when a super-massive star collapses in on itself and ejects its outer shell in the process. Either way, a mind-boggling amount of energy is quickly release.
        Alex Filippenko: The energy of motion, the kinetic energy of the ejected material can equal the total amount of energy the sun will release over its entire 10 billion year lifetime.

    • NOTES (1)

      • Biggest Blasts:
        10: Chicxulub impact
        9: Martian Impact
        8: The Big Splat
        7: When worlds collide.
        6: Magnetar flares
        5: The 100 million year blast
        4: Short gamma ray bursts
        3: Supernovas
        2: Long gamma ray bursts
        1: The Big Bang

    • ALLUSIONS (0)