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See Galactic Disorder And Death!

Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory used supercomputers to create this image of how entropy — disorder — spreads through a supernova as the star begins to explode. Hongfeng Yu/Argonne National Laboratory hide caption

toggle caption Hongfeng Yu/Argonne National Laboratory

If you could see inside a dying star — and if your eyes were tuned to perceive that ephemeral property of the universe called entropy — this might be what you would see.

Entropy is one way physicists measure disorder — and, by the way, there's a general tendency in the universe (including our closets) to progress toward a state of greater entropy. Same holds true inside a supernova, a dying star.

OK, enough physics. This image from the Argonne National Laboratory is just plain awesome. Scientists at the lab have been using supercomputers to create visual images of very complex phenomena — such as how entropy spreads through a supernova as the star begins to explode.

The image here is of a simulation — not an actual star. The different colors and transparencies represent different levels of entropy. The goal of this research is to display information in a way that makes it easier to understand and interpret.

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