for Truth
Physics & Cosmology - 5

by Bruce Malone

Where Have All the Remnants Gone?

A star is an enormous mass of gas millions of times larger than the earth. At a certain point in its lifetime very massive stars become unstable and collapse in upon themselves. This single star rapidly releases energy exceeding the output from the billions of stars in a galaxy as it implodes in upon itself. At the point where the star becomes so dense that it cannot collapse further, and the remaining debris is thrown outward.

This event is called a supernova and the remnants from such an explosive event should be detectable for millions of years. Based on what scientists currently know about stars, a galaxy the size of the Milky Way (our galaxy) should have one supernova approximately every 25 years. If our galaxy is 10 billion years old there should have been many millions of supernovas since it first formed. The number and appearance of these supernova remnants is therefore very revealing as to the actual age of our galaxy.

The expanding debris from a supernova goes through three distinct stages. During the first 300 years after a supernova, material is hurtled outward at 7000 km/second. After approximately 300 years the second stage is reached where a blast wave forms emitting powerful radio waves for the next 120,000 years. The last stage starts when the material becomes so spread out that only heat energy is detectable. This stage should last for another 6 million years until the supernova debris spreads out to a diameter of 1500 light years and becomes essentially undetectable.

Based on visibility and probability studies, scientists have been able to calculate approximately how many supernovas should be visible from each stage of development. By assuming that only 19% of first stage supernova will be visible, 47% of second stage supernovas visible (radio waves are more easily detected), and 14% of third stage supernovas visible (they are larger but harder to see), you can back calculate the number which should be seen in the Milky Way depending on the assumed age of our solar system.

For instance, if our galaxy is billions of years old, we should be able to see 47% of all of the second stage supernovas which have happened in the last 120,000 years. Since there should be one every 25 years, this would be (120,000/25) x (0.47) = 2256. However, if our galaxy is only 10,000 years old the number of second stage remnants would be (7,000/25) x (0.47) = 132. Similar simple calculations can be carried out for the expected remnants for stage 1 and stage 3 remnants.

As shown in the graph, the number of observed remnants agrees extremely well with what would be expected if our galaxy is close to the age which the Bible indicates (less than 10,000 years).

Does this prove that the Milky Way has been in existence for less than 10,000 years? Not really, there are too many unknown variables in any dating to "prove" the age of a distant event (such as creation). But this is one more piece of evidence, added to the vast majority of dating methods, which indicates that the earth and the universe are far younger than the assumptions of evolution allow.

This article is a condensation of a technical paper given by Keith Davies, ‘The Distribution of Supernova Remnants in the Galaxy’, Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Creationism, 1994, pp.175-184.

These articles are sponsored by the Christian Celebration Center. If you would like a full set, stop by the church office or write to Bruce Malone; 3275 Monroe Rd.; Midland, MI 48642. Permission granted to copy for non-profit use. Copyright 1998.

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