Mingus – Oh Yeah!

I noticed a news item this morning which explains that the Supernova Cosmology Project have found a supernova with a redshift of 1.71, which makes it the most distant one found so far  (about 10 billion light-years away).  That – and hopefully others at similar distances – should prove immensely useful  for working out how the expansion rate of the Universe has changed over its history and hence yield important clues about the nature of its contents, particularly the mysterious dark energy.

Of particular relevance to this blog is the name given to this supernova, Mingus, after the jazz musician and composer Charles Mingus. Both the discovery and the great choice of name are grounds for celebration, so here’s one of my favourite Mingus tracks – the delightfully carefree and exuberant Eat that Chicken, from the Album Oh Yeah. Enjoy!

7 Responses to “Mingus – Oh Yeah!”

  1. Featuring the incomparable Roland Kirk

    • telescoper Says:

      Indeed, on his usual array of different instruments (including flute, siren, tenor saxophone, manzello, and strich – whatever that is).

      You can also hear:

      Booker Ervin — tenor saxophone
      Jimmy Knepper — trombone
      Doug Watkins — bass
      Dannie Richmond — drums

      Mingus himself plays piano on this track, and delivers the vocals…

  2. Okay, I have a question about the astronomy part of the post.

    The supernova — a Type 1a, apparently — occurred when the universe was less than 4 Ga old. Yet for a Type 1a to occur one requires, as a part of a binary system, something like a white dwarf which, given the track record of the Sun and Sun-like stars, will take at least over 5 Ga, right?

    • No. The progenitors of type Ia’s begin to reach the explosive phase from about 0.5-1 Ga. It should be possible to find them at even higher redshift. Whether the properties would still the same may be questioned, however.

      The lower mass limit of core collapse supernovae may be less at high redshift low metallicity, depending on mass loss efficiency. It would be really interesting to find a type 1.5 SN (proposed by Renzini) – if they exist.

      • telescoper Says:

        Does that depend on whether the supernova is triggered by merging or accretion?

      • Bryn Jones Says:

        Determining the frequency of type Ia supernovae as a function of redshift would presumably be a useful method of testing what causes them – we might expect very different frequencies at high redshift if there were produced by the detonation of material accreted on to one component in a binary, compared to coalescence of the two components following loss of energy through gravitational radiation. So improving statistics of high-redshift supernovae would be very interesting for a number of reasons.

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