Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

Hubble creates time lapse movie of fading supernova

Using the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have created a time lapse movie showing the fading of a supernova in a nearby galaxy over a year.

The supernova is captured by Hubble in exquisite detail within this galaxy in the left portion of the image. It appears as a very bright star located on the outer edge of one of its beautiful swirling spiral arms. This new and unique time-lapse of Hubble images created by the ESA/Hubble team shows the once bright supernova initially outshining the brightest stars in the galaxy, before fading into obscurity during the year of observations. This time-lapse consists of observations taken over the course of one year, from February 2018 to February 2019.

The video of that time lapse is embedded below the fold.

The galaxy itself is located 70 million light years away. That the supernova of this single star initially outshone the entire galaxy indicates the almost unimaginable power of the explosion.


I must unfortunately ask you for your financial support because I do not depend on ads and rely entirely on the generosity of readers to keep Behind the Black running. You can either make a one time donation for whatever amount you wish, or you sign up for a monthly subscription ranging from $2 to $15 through Paypal or $3 to $50 through Patreon.

Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

Your support is even more essential to me because I not only keep this site free from advertisements, I do not use the corrupt social media companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook to promote my work. I depend wholly on the direct support of my readers.

You can provide that support to Behind The Black with a contribution via Patreon or PayPal. To use Patreon, go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation. For PayPal click one of the following buttons:


Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


If Patreon or Paypal don't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to

Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

Or you can donate by using Zelle through your bank. You will need to give my name and email address (found at the bottom of the "About" page). The best part of this electronic option is that no fees will be deducted! What you donate will be what I receive.


  • TX Nick77

    When this event happened, dinosaurs walked the earth. And did so another five million years.

  • El

    What are the rest of the stars/objects in that field? Are they other stars in that same galaxy as the supernova, as the text seems to imply? Or are they other galaxies and quasars, or stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way, that were caught in the frame?

  • El: Since galaxies are made of billions of stars, the Milky Way cannot have other galaxies in it, as all galaxies are a collection of stars. In this case we are looking out of our galaxy to another 70 million light years away.

    Most of the bright patches you see in this movie are made up of that distant galaxy’s stars, which like the Milky Way (our own galaxy in which the Sun resides) blend to form bright areas.

    I would guess that most of the stars you see in this image are from this galaxy, not our Milky Way, though it is possible one or two are from our galaxy that happen to be in the line of sight.

    As for quasars, they are thought to be the central supermassive black hole of very very distant galaxies. While the Milky Way has a supermassive black hole at its center, it is not a quasar, as such objects are very energetic, and ours right now is very inactive. It is also much smaller than a quasar.

    I hope that answers your questions.

  • LocalFluff

    All the stars here look to me like they are in the same galaxy, NGC 2525. A star in our galaxy would be as bright as the supernova at its brightest. A few of the spots might be galaxies in the far background. The blue spots are typical for star forming regions, where there are very bright short lived hot blue giant stars that go supernova at an age of only a few tens of million years. Most of the light from a spiral galaxy comes from such stars. There are not more stars in the spiral arms than between them, it is just that the spiral arms are a standing wave where gas gets more dense (like a car congestion at traffic lights) and thus more stars are formed there. Since the brightest stars are short lived, they don’t have time to leave their spiral arms which thus are more visible. The vast majority of stars are older fainter red dwarfs or Sun-like that have passed through the spiral arms many times.

  • wayne

    You might find this informative:

    Physics 20B. Cosmology.
    Lec. 17: “Universe of Galaxies”
    Dr. James Bullock, UC Irvine 2015

  • wayne

    the short visual version….

    “2dF Galaxy Redshift survey”
    The distribution of 220,000+ Galaxies

    “The 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey (Two-degree-Field Galaxy Redshift Survey), 2dF or 2dFGRS is a redshift survey conducted by the Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO) with the 3.9m Anglo-Australian Telescope between 1997 and 11 April 2002. The data from this survey were made public on 30 June 2003. The survey determined the large-scale structure in two large slices of the Universe to a depth of around 2.5 billion light years (redshift ~ 0.2).”
    [->One Key factoid take-a-way: for this 2 degree wide slice of sky, out to 2.5 Bly’s, they encountered 12K objects which are single stars, and 232K galaxies.]
    “In total, the photometry of 382,323 objects were measured, which includes spectra for 245,591 objects, of which 232,155 were galaxies (221,414 with good quality spectra), 12,311 are stars, and 125 are quasi-stellar objects (quasars).

    “The movie uses the actual positions of galaxies in the 2dF survey and genuine galaxy images, but for artistic effect the galaxy sizes have been greatly exaggerated compared to their separations.”

Readers: the rules for commenting!


No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.


However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.


Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *