Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, March 26, 2016

MVNews this week:  Page 12




The brilliant flash of an exploding star’s 
shockwave—what astronomers call the “shock 
breakout”—has been captured for the first time in 
the optical wavelength or visible light by NASA’s 
planet-hunter, the Kepler space telescope.

 An international science team led by Peter 
Garnavich, an astrophysics professor at the 
University of Notre Dame in Indiana, analyzed 
light captured by Kepler every 30 minutes over 
a three-year period from 500 distant galaxies, 
searching some 50 trillion stars. They were hunting 
for signs of massive stellar death explosions known 
as supernovae.

 In 2011, two of these massive stars, called red 
supergiants, exploded while in Kepler’s view. The 
first behemoth, KSN 2011a, is nearly 300 times the 
size of our Sun and a mere 700 million light-years 
from Earth. The second, KSN 2011d, is roughly 500 
times the size of our Sun and around 1.2 billion 
light-years away.

 “To put their size into perspective, Earth’s orbit 
about our Sun would fit comfortably within these 
colossal stars,” said Garnavich.

 Whether it’s a plane crash, car wreck or supernova, 
capturing images of sudden, catastrophic events 
is extremely difficult but tremendously helpful 
in understanding root cause. Just as widespread 
deployment of mobile cameras has made forensic 
videos more common, the steady gaze of Kepler 
allowed astronomers to see, at last, a supernova 
shockwave as it reached the surface of a star. The 
shock breakout itself lasts only about 20 minutes, 
so catching the flash of energy is an investigative 
milestone for astronomers.

 “In order to see something that happens on 
timescales of minutes, like a shock breakout, you 
want to have a camera continuously monitoring 
the sky,” said Garnavich. “You don’t know when a 
supernova is going to go off, and Kepler’s vigilance 
allowed us to be a witness as the explosion began.”

 Supernovae like these—known as Type II—
begin when the internal furnace of a star runs out 
of nuclear fuel causing its core to collapse as gravity 
takes over.

 The two supernovae matched up well with 
mathematical models of Type II explosions 
reinforcing existing theories. But they also revealed 
what could turn out to be an unexpected variety in 
the individual details of these cataclysmic stellar 

 While both explosions delivered a similar 
energetic punch, no shock breakout was seen in the 
smaller of the supergiants. Scientists think that is 
likely due to the smaller star being surrounded by 
gas, perhaps enough to mask the shockwave when 
it reached the star’s surface.

 “That is the puzzle of these results,” said 
Garnavich. “You look at two supernovae and see 
two different things. That’s maximum diversity.”

 Understanding the physics of these violent 
events allows scientists to better understand how 
the seeds of chemical complexity and life itself have 
been scattered in space and time in our Milky Way 

 “All heavy elements in the universe come from 
supernova explosions. For example, all the silver, 
nickel, and copper in the Earth and even in our 
bodies came from the explosive death throes of 
stars,” said Steve Howell, project scientist for 
NASA’s Kepler and K2 missions at NASA’s Ames 
Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. “Life 
exists because of supernovae.”

 You can contact Bob Eklund at: b.eklund@


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder






[Nyerges is the author 
of “How to Survive 
Anywhere,” “Extreme 
Simplicity,” “Foraging 
California,” and other books. He can be reached 
at, or Box 41834, 
Eagle Rock, CA 90041.]

 I grew up with the basic theme of the savior 
and his death and resurrection, defying the odds 
of a materialistic society. Jesus is the most widely-
written about topic of all time: What are the facts, 
what do they mean, what does it mean to me, what 
does it mean to the future. 

 I felt very much in a seeking mode this Good 
Friday, and decided to sit in a church where I 
would sit in my childhood during the 3 hours 
of the passion of the Christ. To my chagrin, the 
churches I visited had no services, so I spent quiet 
time in my own inner church.

 To me, the true essence of religion consists 
of ways of living, survival tools, if you will, that 
would help us survive if we’d only follow those 

 After my “How To Survive Anywhere” book was 
published, a few acquaintances criticized me for 
the inclusion of what they perceived to be “non-
survival” issues in the last chapter, which I called 
“What is Survival?” For example, I included USC 
basketball coach Wooden’s famous pyramid of 
success, including such “old fashioned” principles 
as the Ten Commandments.

 My perspective is that we can all master Boy 
Scout skills, and we should. In addition, we 
should all strive to become better human beings, 
and become an asset to our family, community 
and nation. This requires discipline, patience, and 

 I am not a pessimist. It has long seemed that 
our society has lost its grounding, lost its ability 
to think, and sinks deeper and deeper into 
sectarianism, greed, and lust. On the other hand, 
there are countless guidelines and reference points 
that show the way to anyone awake enough who 
desires a way through the fog that our society has 

 The Golden Rule and the Ten Commandments, 
for example. These are excellent practical survival 
guidelines that, if followed, provide us with 
emotional and spiritual stability and a sense of 
what to do and not to do.

 So my perspective is that the higher ideals that 
we should learn, and live, are in fact, real “survival 
tools.” Let me know what you think.

 There are other guidelines as well, coming from 
all corners of the globe. 

 For example, I recently obtained a copy of 
Miyamoto Musashi’s A Book of Five Rings. 
Musashi was perhaps the most renowned of all 
Japanese Samurai. An undefeated warrior, as well 
as a poet and artist, he wrote his book in 1645 
while living in a cave during the last year of his 

 He divides his lessons into the Ground book, 
the Water book, the Fire book, the Wind book, 
and the Book of the Void. The Way of which 
Musashi writes is the Way of Strategy, and all of 
his books are chiefly concerned with Timing. In 
the Ground book, provides 9 guidelines, adding 
“This is the Way for men who want to learn my 

1. Do not think dishonestly.

2. The Way is in training.

3. Become acquainted with every art.

4. Know the Ways of all professions.

5. Distinguish between gain and loss in worldly 

6. Develop intuitive judgement and understanding 
for everything.

7. Perceive those things which cannot be seen.

8. Pay attention even to trifles.

9. Do nothing which is of no use.

These are excellent guidelines to study and to 
apply to any profession. And because my state of 
mind was very much into seeing beyond dogma 
and division, I saw Musashi’s 9 guidelines as a very 
meaningful Good Friday message. Yes, we are 
nailed to the cross of our bodies and our culture, 
and only by following the spirit of such guidelines 
as the Golden Rule, the 10 Commandments, and 
Musashi’s 9 guidelines, are we to resurrect from 
our own morass of animality and materialism. 

 Let me know what you think.

For those who follow the church calendar Good 
Friday is a special day, one of the high religious 
days among many Christians. Personally, I think 
it is a good one to remember and celebrate.

 Overall, apart from a few exceptions, I do not 
like special days. As far as I’m concerned, every 
day I get up and take nourishment is a special day 
for me.

 Everybody seems to have their own special 
day and I find it rather difficult to keep up on all 
of these “special days.” If a person would honor 
and celebrate every “special day” posted on the 
calendar there would be no days to get any work 
done whatsoever. And, as luck would have it on 
my side, I would miss a very special “special day.”

I am in favor of setting aside one day a month as 
the official “special day” of the month in which 
everything that anybody wants to celebrate 
during that month could be included. That way 
we could get the celebrating of special days done 
and then we can get back to business as usual.

 One of the most frightening phrases a husband 
can hear is, “Do you know what anniversary it is 

 Every husband has been backed into a corner 
like this sometime during his marital career. I 
for one say it is not fair. Because everyone knows 
special is as special remembers, which puts 
husbands at a great disadvantage.

 It is not that men cannot remember, a 
man’s memory is limited and so he must be 
very selective. And to be honest about this, 
anniversaries are simply not on any man’s radar.

 I learned this very early in my relationship 
with the young woman who graciously accepted 
my invitation of matrimony.

 We had been dating for around a month and 
one night when I picked her up to go out, she said 
something that confused me. “You know this is 
our first anniversary?”

 My confusion lay in the fact that an anniversary 
had to do with something yearly. I had only 
known her for several months at the time. I know 
time gets away with a person, but this was rather 
ridiculous. In the short time we had known 
each other, it was impossible for us to have an 
anniversary of anything.

 It was at this point I did something, although 
innocent enough at the time, that I have regretted 
the rest of my life. I looked at her and laughed.

 That was when I was introduced to the 
marvelously mysterious world of women-lore. 
With a woman, anniversaries are not something 
to laugh about, at least in their presence. An 
anniversary is something to celebrate whether it 
makes sense or not.

 When I realized how serious the situation was, 
I wiped that silly grin off my face and inquired as 
to what anniversary she was referring to.

 “Why, don’t you know,” she said as seriously 
as I have ever seen her up to that point. “This 
is the first month anniversary of our going out 

 Now, what do you do on the first month 
anniversary of going out as a couple? However, 
the thing that really frightened me was, do we 
celebrate this every month?

 What is the protocol for these monthly 
anniversaries? How do I keep track of all of this? 
What gift is appropriate? I was afraid that I would 
go broke before we got around to getting married.

I would come to discover that these “monthly 
anniversaries” were to continue until they were 
superseded by a more important anniversary. 
Of course, her responsibility was to select the 
anniversary that would trump the monthly 

 My responsibility? To remember the latest 

 How is a husband to keep track of all of 
these anniversaries? Once I mistakenly bought 
a special gift for what I thought was our fifth 
wedding anniversary. It turned out to be our 
seventh. Where those two years went, only my 
wife remembers.

 I cannot remember all those anniversaries 
now, but they went something like this. The 
anniversary of when we first met. The anniversary 
of getting her the first Valentines box of candy. 
The anniversary of sharing our first hot fudge 
sundae together. The anniversary of giving her 
an engagement ring.

 Looking back over all those years I have a list 
of my own anniversaries I can never remember 

 For example. The anniversary of when she 
slammed the car door on my finger. Ha, she 
probably forgot that one. (I wonder if Hallmark 
has a card for this?) I still have the gruesome scar 
on my finger reminding me of that anniversary.

 How about the anniversary of the day the 
diamond fell out of the first engagement ring I 
gave her? Fortunately, someone had a microscope 
and we were able, after diligent search, to find the 

 Then, there is the anniversary of the day she 
backed into my parked car. Enough said.

 As we celebrate Good Friday, a very special 
day, remember that its goodness comes from the 
following Sunday when Jesus rose victoriously 
over sin and the grave.

 “For I delivered unto you first of all that 
which I also received, how that Christ died for 
our sins according to the scriptures; And that he 
was buried, and that he rose again the third day 
according to the scriptures:” (1 Corinthians 15:3-
4 KJV).

 It is Good Friday, but Resurrection Sunday’s a 

 The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family 
of God Fellowship in Silver Springs Shores. Call 
him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail jamessnyder2@att.
net. The church web site is www.whatafellowship.

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