TIL In 1930, Chandra, an Indian student showed mathematically that massive stars explode into a supernova and then collapse down into neutron stars,or black holes. Before that Scientists assumed that all stars collapsed into white dwarfs when they died. Chandra’s theory was ridiculed as ‘absurd’

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And he also established the limits at which White Dwarves collapse into Neutron stars and more importantly when Neutron stars collapse into black holes. These objects are born from events that expel mass. These daughter stellar objects are much smaller than the stars that preceded them. After they are born though they can accrete mass more and grow to unstably large sizes. A neutron star collapsing at the Candrasenkar limit into a black hole creates a supernova of a fixed luminosity called a Type 1a Supernova which can be used to measure distances to far away galaxies! Chandrasenkar was a dope dude.


>Sir Arthur Eddington, a physicist whose experimental work was key in proving Einstein’s theory of general relativity, openly mocked Chandrasekhar’s theory at a meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1935. >”The star has to go on radiating and radiating and contracting and contracting until, I suppose, it gets to a few kilometers’ radius, when gravity becomes strong enough to hold the radiation and the star can at last have peace,” Eddington said, inadvertently describing the very thing Chandrasekhar’s limit would explain: the creation of black holes. “I think there should be a law of Nature to prevent a star from behaving in this absurd way!” he added. (There isn’t.) >This incident was so embarrassing for the young Chandrasekhar that he almost quit the field, the New York Times explains. (Chandrasekhar and Eddington would eventually make amends.) >Of course, scientists would go on to find more and more evidence of the existence of black holes and neutron stars. And for his work, Chandrasekhar won half of the 1983 Nobel Prize in physics. His theory represents one of the very early, important steps in our understanding of black holes and neutron stars. >And today his name adorns one of NASA’s prized space telescopes: The Chandra X-ray Observatory, whose data has contributed to the most spectacular images we have of dying stars exploding into supernovas.


and IIRC he figured all this out while on the train into Europe on pen & paper in a small notebook


The theory *is* completely absurd. The Universe however is even more absurd. Dark Energy? Yep. Dark Matter? Yep. Space expanding faster then the speed of light? Yes, yes and yes!


Wasn’t continental drift considered ‘absurd’