february 1987

9

The Nearest Supernova Of Our Lifetime Turns 30, And Still Shines

“The supernova light brightened and then dimmed, but the surrounding gas, blown off from the supergiant, remains illuminated by radiation. As shockwaves from the explosion move outwards, they collide with interstellar material, producing brightening rings of material.”

In February of 1987, the first light from a supernova some 168,000 light years away was observed on Earth. It became the closest supernova to be observed since the invention of the telescope. As a result, it’s taught us more about massive star death, ejecta and supernova remnant evolution than any other object in the Universe. Illuminated outer rings showcase ejection events that occurred prior to the final death of the star; continued brightening teach us the rate of expansion of the supernova remnant; the lack of a neutron star at the core teaches us about the power of dust to obscure even radio light from this object. Perhaps most interestingly, neutrinos were observed from this supernova, arriving nearly three hours before the light did, confirming that they move through a star unimpeded, unlike light.

Come get the full story in some amazing pictures, videos and under 200 words of text on today’s Mostly Mute Monday!

2

History Meme - Italian Version

[1/10] Assassinations - Strage di Capaci (Capaci’s Massacre), 23 May 1992.

On the 23rd of May 1992, on the Capaci’s junction of the highway A29, a few kilometers away from Palermo, a huge explosion killed the Italian Magistrate Giovanni Falcone, his wife Francesca Morvillo, and three of their body guards, Vito Schifani, Rocco Dicillo and Antonio Montinaro.

The attack was planned by the criminal organization Cosa Nostra, lead by the boss Totò Riina, who threw a party right after Falcone’s death.

Giovanni Falcone spent most of his life fighting the power of the Sicilian mafia. Thanks to his work, the first big trial against the mafia, known as the Maxiprocesso, could take place, between February 1986 and December 1987. The Maxiprocesso convicted 360 defendants, for a total of 2665 years of prison and 19 life sentences for the bosses.

Giovanni Falcone, along with his dear friend Paolo Borsellino, who was assassinated 57 days after Falcone, is considered a national hero and a symbol of the fight against the mafia.

“La mafia non è affatto invincibile. È un fatto umano e come tutti i fatti umani ha un inizio, e avrà anche una fine.”/”The mafia isn’t invincible. It’s a human phenomenon and thus, like all human phenomena it has a beginning, and it will also have an end.”

On February 5, 1987, Ted had his first panic attack. Although he’d maintained an unperturbed exterior, always in control, always cool and superrational, inside, he apparently was destabilizing after the events of the past year. Until his first death warrant his life at Florida State Prison had been relatively peaceful, especially after he and Carol and Tina had settled into their weekly routine. The disruption caused by the first warrant was only the first tremor of the crumbling of that existence. The TV movie had brought more public attention, hatred, and unavoidable reminders of the crimes he had put out of his mind for six years. The second warrant had made the possibility of execution real to him - and to Carole. Then Carole had left for Seattle, and Ted’s six-year pattern of Saturday visits with his “attentive” family were over. Bad memories were being dredged up from the past as Dr. Norman visited sporadically, spending several hours each time probing Ted’s recollections, his dark side. He was spending time alone with Diana Weiner. He’d always expected to be permitted time to apply for clemency in the Lake City case after cert. was denied. Instead, he had found himself on death watch again, receiving a stay only six hours before his execution was to take place. Then, to top it off, he’d been wrongly placed in disciplinary status upon receiving the stay and deprived of outdoor exercise - his most treasured privilege. The pressure was mounting, his peaceful existence was slowly unraveling. Even the Eleventh Circuit ruling in our favor and remanding the Chi Omega case for further consideration was not necessarily a great comfort to Ted. For him, the mere resolution of a court case - whether in his favor or not - meant that he was that much closer to running out of legal ammunition.

Ted later told me he thought he was going to die that morning of February 5. He said he has been feeling fine since his release from the DR, exercising as usual, doing yoga, avoiding coffee and chemicals. Ted valued self-discipline. The panic attack hit at six in the morning, without warning. He said he lost his short-term memory; lost all perspective; he felt “waves of adrenaline, terror and panic”; he was trembling and his hands were shaking; he felt “numbness, pinpricks on top of my brain”; he was dizzy, heard echoes, and had ringing in his ears. He writhed on the floor of his cell for half a day before it passed. Subsequent attacks would last longer. - Polly Nelson on Ted’s first panic attack