Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Space Alien's Hallowe'en Confession

Your Editor found the Space Alien sitting quietly, looking dejected.

"What's wrong?" asked Your Editor.  "It's almost Hallowe'en!  You should be thinking about your costume!"

"I know," said the Space Alien, "but I'm feeling sad and a little conflicted as well."

"Tell me," said Your Editor, drawing up a chair. "Maybe I can help."

The Space Alien handed Your Editor a NASA release describing a recently detected neutron-star collision that occurred millions of light years away, producing gravitational waves now measurable on earth.

And you, Loyal Reader, may about this here:

And enjoy this exciting short video animation here:

And read more about this here:

and here:

"I've read a little about neutron stars from collapsed supernovas at," said your editor,
"but why is this making you so sad?"

The Space Alien hesitated a moment, and then blurted out:

"Because that collision was partly my fault and it could hurt a lot of people!"

"Your fault?  How could that be?  It happened millions of years ago!" exclaimed Your Editor.

The Space Alien looked even more unhappy.  "You knew I had a life before we met, didn't you?"

"Yes, you had mentioned that," answered Your Editor, "but you've never told me much about it, and anyway, how does that relate here?"

"Way back in the day I organized teams to play 'Ultimate Supernova.' We tossed nebulas and neutron stars just for fun like you do with your Frisbees!  Here's an old photo of me tossing a bit of a supernova!"

Space Alien Plays Frisbee with a bit of Supernova 

"We laughed when we made the supernovas collapse producing neutron stars that would bump into each other," continued the Space Alien.  "The gravitational waves tickled us, and they made lots of funny noises!"

"But that was long ago and far away," said Your Editor.

"True," agreed the Space Alien, "but the results of our youthful indiscretions have reached the earth, producing produce gamma rays that could wipe out everyone here!"

"No!" cried Your Editor!  "Where did you learn that?"

"I read it on Twitter," said the Space Alien, pulling out a Smart Phone.  "Here's a tweet by astrophysicist John Preskill of the California Institute of Technology, who has studied similar phenomena for decades!"  ( QV:

"It appears that these collisions produce many things," said Your Editor, "including precious metals!  I read about this at: "

"We still don't know exactly how this will affect us," continued Your Editor, "but we're still here, so why don't you get to work on your Hallowe'en costume!"

"I thought I'd wear this t-shirt!" said the Space Alien.  "I found it online at our store!  Don't you think it's me?"

Space Alien models Space Alien T-Shirt

"That's not really a costume," said Your Editor.  "A costume is about pretending to be someone else."

"Well, last year I played 'Trick or Treat' pretending that I was really you dressed up as me," answered the Space Alien, "and, as I recall, you didn't like that very much!"  (And you, Loyal Reader may read more about this at:

"I remember that," said Your Editor.   "You created havoc at Hallowe'en parties and told everyone that you were me, Your Editor,  dressed up as you.  And that pumpkin juggling thing you did;  I never heard the end of it!"  

"I was just having fun and the children LOVED it!" said the Space Alien.

The Space Alien Juggles Pumpkins for Hallowe'en

"Well, it made an awful mess," cried Your Editor, "and everyone thought it was me!"

"Humph," snorted the Space Alien.  "I know you are my editor, and I appreciate that, but if you want my opinion you need to lighten up!"

"When I want your opinion I'll ask for it!" muttered Your Editor.

They sat in silence for a moment.

"Hey," said the Space Alien, "why don't we go to the Space Alien Gazette Hallowe'en party dressed as supernovas?  We can do a new dance -- the Colliding Supernova Cha-Cha-Cha!"

"You're on!" said Your Editor. "Let me grab my dancing shoes!"

And you, Loyal Readers, are all invited too!  Be sure to wear a costume!

Shortly after this edition went to press a Loyal Reader asked how stars colliding could make gold.   The Space Alien, always eager to respond fully and accurately to reader queries, found this article.

While this article does not explain how this phenomenon occurs, that stars DO collide to make gold is beyond dispute, as is clear from the result of a collision between two well-known stars, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

Evidence that Collision of Stars
Produces Gold