A hydrogen bomb detonated against your eyeball
…would deliver less energy to your retina than a supernova observed from a distance of one astronomical unit (AU; the distance from the Earth to the sun). How much less? From this XKCD What If:
Which of the following would be brighter, in terms of the amount of energy delivered to your retina:
A supernova, seen from as far away as the Sun is from the Earth, or
The detonation of a hydrogen bomb pressed against your eyeball?
Applying the physicist rule of thumb suggests that the supernova is brighter. And indeed, it is … by nine orders of magnitude.
That rocked me back on my heels. And it got me thinking: how far away would one have to be for a supernova to be only as bright as an h-bomb pressed against one’s eyeball?
Radiated energy is subject to the inverse-square law, by which intensity of radiation…
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