A Young Pulsar Shows its Hand
April 12, 2009 8:10 PM   Subscribe

Behold the Cosmic Hand of Destruction.
posted by homunculus (46 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Careful, Cosmic Hand of Destruction, that space burrito looks pretty hot.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:15 PM on April 12, 2009 [5 favorites]


We are small and insignificant and that's pretty fucking awesome. One day, we will be able to see these things with our own eyes.
posted by kldickson at 8:18 PM on April 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


kldickson: That's an interesting reason to want X-Ray vision, imagine the killing you could make in poker, though.
posted by idiopath at 8:21 PM on April 12, 2009


Our legends foretell of a time such as this!

The Cosmic Hand of Destruction, they say, shall always precede The Coming of The Great White Handkerchief.
posted by Kikkoman at 8:22 PM on April 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, kldickson, damn these gelatinous orbs.
posted by stevis23 at 8:22 PM on April 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not this this is not awesome, but what would be awesomer if the image was slightly NSFW, say giant cosmic hand giving huge red penis some hand relief, or reaching for a nebular that looks for all in the cosmos as a giant turd.
posted by mattoxic at 8:32 PM on April 12, 2009


Did not see that it was x-ray vision.

But yeah, damn these gelatinous orbs!
posted by kldickson at 8:32 PM on April 12, 2009


I see a bunny and a carrot!
posted by not_on_display at 8:33 PM on April 12, 2009


Galactus needs to learn not to be so grabby.
posted by hifiparasol at 8:34 PM on April 12, 2009


Hey, pull my finger.
posted by hortense at 8:35 PM on April 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nature is just so goddamn awesome sometimes.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:35 PM on April 12, 2009


That is cool.
posted by nola at 8:36 PM on April 12, 2009


Oh..Wise Guy, Eh? Why I Oughta ...
posted by codswallop at 8:40 PM on April 12, 2009


Galactus needs to learn not to be so grabby.

Actually, that's the Anti-Monitor *nerd slurp*
posted by Donnie VandenBos at 8:44 PM on April 12, 2009


The King of All Cosmos has been hitting the Cosmopolitans again. Watch out for small, rapidly accumulating balls of trash in the next few days.

Seriously, I'll be interested to see this showing up in cheap religious propaganda soon, like that picture of some clouds that sort of formed the face of Jesus, or of the "eye" in the nebula.
posted by Countess Elena at 8:48 PM on April 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


One day, we will be able to see these things with our own eyes.

Brother Cavil: In all your travels, have you ever seen a star go supernova?
Ellen Tigh: No.
Brother Cavil: No? Well, I have. I saw a star explode and send out the building blocks of the Universe. Other stars, other planets and eventually other life. A supernova! Creation itself! I was there. I wanted to see it and be part of the moment. And you know how I perceived one of the most glorious events in the universe? With these ridiculous gelatinous orbs in my skull! With eyes designed to perceive only a tiny fraction of the EM spectrum. With ears designed only to hear vibrations in the air.
Ellen Tigh: The five of us designed you to be as human as possible.
Brother Cavil: I don't want to be human! I want to see gamma rays! I want to hear X-rays! And I want to - I want to smell dark matter! Do you see the absurdity of what I am? I can't even express these things properly because I have to - I have to conceptualize complex ideas in this stupid limiting spoken language! But I know I want to reach out with something other than these prehensile paws! And feel the wind of a supernova flowing over me! I'm a machine! And I can know much more! I can experience so much more. But I'm trapped in this absurd body! And why? Because my five creators thought that God wanted it that way!
posted by homunculus at 9:02 PM on April 12, 2009 [8 favorites]


Wow. Any photos of this in visible light? It must be glowing something fierce over a whole lotta wavelengths.

I'm a little confused about the "fingers" and glowing red dots. The article says they're due to precession of the pulsar, showing where the emitted energy beams were pointing and heating stuff up. But that suggests the beam lingered in one spot for a while, then flicked over to the next spot and lingered there, and so on. However, astronomical precession is slow but continuous according to Wikipedia. So what's with the discrete dots?
posted by Quietgal at 9:03 PM on April 12, 2009


Fire + hand = metaphor
posted by rageagainsttherobots at 9:07 PM on April 12, 2009


Inspector.Gadget: "Careful, Cosmic Hand of Destruction, that space burrito looks pretty hot."

I love you.
posted by Science! at 9:09 PM on April 12, 2009


Ah, the vagaries of perspective.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:12 PM on April 12, 2009


Whoah. I wish I was high enough to see those fingers.. fing.
posted by porpoise at 9:25 PM on April 12, 2009


God-Do-Ken
posted by autodidact at 9:29 PM on April 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Okay, this ...THING. This thing that we cannot even call a monster, because the sheer radiance and energy and power of it makes words like monster seem utterly hopeless, this undead star, this thing that burns in x-ray and points the way to oblivion beyond reckoning, this THING is only kilometers across.

" A feeling of intense and crushing religious terror at the concept indicates only that you are still sane."

– Dr. Milton Glass
posted by The Whelk at 10:02 PM on April 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Maybe this gay marriage thing was a bad idea, after all.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:35 PM on April 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


Unless the hand sticks out two fingers and-

Oh, my.
posted by The Whelk at 10:37 PM on April 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yep, Countess Elena's right. Cheap religious propaganda will eat this up.

...And on the eighth day, man said to God, "Hey, way to go!" And there was high-fiving all around.
posted by Avelwood at 10:41 PM on April 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


That article. He's talking to me like I'm an idiot and he thinks my interest in science is kinda cute or something.

If I wasn't a completely ignorant science idiot I think I'd be offended. As it is, I'm just sucking it up and taking my just deserts.
posted by PhatLobley at 11:08 PM on April 12, 2009


Young man --
Young man --
Your arm's too short to box with God.
posted by dhartung at 11:11 PM on April 12, 2009


mmmmmmmmm, space burrito.
posted by chimaera at 11:16 PM on April 12, 2009


Unless the hand sticks out two fingers and-

Oh, my.


The Shocker!!
posted by Balisong at 11:34 PM on April 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Dr. Manhattan?
posted by jnaps at 2:32 AM on April 13, 2009


This totally should have been on the front of Busta's ELE album, with Earth photoshopped in.

*whip*
That's for talkin' shit.
*whip*
And that's for jackin' rhymes.
*whip*
And that's for trying to front on my crew, nigga!

posted by saysthis at 2:41 AM on April 13, 2009


Unfortunately, this nebula is on a collision course with Uranus.

The Goatse Nebula is not far off.
posted by orme at 6:20 AM on April 13, 2009


Is this part of the NIN "Year Zero" meme?
posted by gcbv at 6:28 AM on April 13, 2009


That hand isn't all there. Obviously, its mother forgot to tell it not to light firecrackers while holding on to them. See what happens?
posted by Goofyy at 6:35 AM on April 13, 2009


Robert J. Sawyer must be loving this: Calculating God.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 7:11 AM on April 13, 2009


Don't stand there gawping, like you've never seen the hand o'God before!
Now, today, we're going to do posting up and down the metafilter!
That is, unless any of you got anything better to do. Well?! Anyone got anything they'd rather be doing than posting up and down on metafilter?!
posted by Smedleyman at 9:19 AM on April 13, 2009


Any photos of this in visible light? It must be glowing something fierce over a whole lotta wavelengths.

Nah, it's not that impressive in visible light. Hard to even tell which star is the pulsar without this combined x-ray and visible image as a guide. (Source)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:35 PM on April 13, 2009


Well, damn these gelatinous orbs, then. But thanks for the pictures, DevilsAdvocate.
posted by Quietgal at 1:10 PM on April 13, 2009


Giant hand? All I see is the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus.
posted by Daddy-O at 1:47 PM on April 13, 2009


This makes me think about Dragon's Egg and Starquake, two novels about life on a neutron star by Physicist and Master of the Science Fiction cliche, Robert Forward. Awesome, mind-bending books that are just so very corny. I love them.
posted by ulotrichous at 4:39 PM on April 13, 2009


Amateur Photographer Captures The Amazing Brightness At A Galaxy's Heart
posted by homunculus at 10:39 PM on April 13, 2009


Hubble Monitors Spectacular Black Hole Flare
posted by homunculus at 4:00 PM on April 14, 2009


The dumbest poll yet
posted by homunculus at 10:29 PM on April 15, 2009


Hubble Snaps Fantastic Galaxy Collision
posted by homunculus at 10:16 AM on April 22, 2009


The Whale Galaxy
posted by homunculus at 9:08 AM on May 2, 2009


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