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Supernova Remnants and a Young Universe

Here is an image of the Cygnus Loop supernova remnant (SNR) from NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX). When a star explodes we call it a supernova. There are two issues that help support the Biblical timeframe regarding supernova remnants (the huge expanding cloud of matter). One has to do with the count and the other with the expansion rate.

Keith Davies (not to be confused with Paul Davies who is known for the anthropic principle) is working towards an M.S. in astrophysics has a special interest in SNR’s. His research defends the teaching of Genesis on Astronomy. Supernova remnants go through three stages. The first stage lasts about 300 years. Second stage SNR’s are a powerful radio source. The third stage lasts up to six million years by mainstream estimates. In our Milky Way galaxy the standard model predicts that we should find 5,000 Stage 3 SNR’s – we find none. This is consistent with a galaxy that is only thousands of years old. [1]

The Cygnus Loop is an SNR in our Milky Way in the constellation Cygnus the Swan. If this SNR is very far away and we know how fast it is expanding we can come up with a good guess for its age. At one time it was thought to be 150 thousand years old. But now the most recent data shows that it may be as young as 1700 years. There are two key parameters that relate to the age of an SNR as it expands. The diameter and the density of the interstellar medium (ISM). Initial estimates for the density were off by a factor of ten. Consider how a string on a violin or guitar sounds with a different tone if the tension on the string changes. The diameter measurement was revised down by over half. A paper published by the Royal Astronomical Society in 2005 supports the reduction of the density of the ISM by a thousand times. This would imply the faster expansion of SNR’s and hence a younger age estimate. Now even NASA admits that the Cygnus Loop SNR is relatively young:

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The nebula lies about 1,500 light-years away, and is a supernova remnant, left over from a massive stellar explosion that occurred 5,000-8,000 years ago. The Cygnus Loop extends more than three times the size of the full moon in the night sky, and is tucked next to one of the ‘swan’s wings’ in the constellation of Cygnus.


1) Refuting Compromise by Jonathan Sarfati (Master Books, Green Forest, AR, 2004), pp. 346-350.

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Written by Jay Hall

Jay Hall has been an origins activist since the 1970’s. Hall is fmr. Assistant Mathematics Professor at Howard College in Big Spring, Texas. He has an M.S. in Mathematics and has 53 credit hours of Science courses in various disciplines. He has written Calculus is Easy and his new book YES – Young Earth Science defends a young earth from History, Geology, Biology and Philosophy. Search yes jay hall on Google or Amazon to find the book.

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  1. Old earth evolutionists either claim or cretainly imply that there are stage 3 SNRs. Are there any in the Milky Way? Are there any beyond that? If SNRs are only beyond the Milky Way does that even disprove the Bible to begin with?

    It’s frustrating with one side saying “They don’t exist” and the other saying “They do exist!”

    Can’t people with eyes and telescopes figure this out?

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