Tuesday March 7, 2006

The Foe

In reading about different types of supernovae on Wikipedia, I read about a new-to-me unit of measurement—the foe:

A foe is a unit of energy equal to 1044 joules.

To measure the staggeringly immense amount of energy produced by a supernova, specialists occasionally use a unit of energy known as a foe, an acronym derived from the phrase fifty one ergs, or 1051 ergs. This unit of measure is convenient because a supernova typically releases about one foe of observable energy in a very short period of time (which can be measured in seconds). In comparison, the total output of the Sun over its entire lifespan (billions of years) is about a tenth of a foe.

1051 ergs, huh—better put on some sunscreen.  As long as we're talking about absurdly high energy measurements, also check out the article about the so-called Oh-My-God particle, a cosmic ray particle observed in 1991 with about the same amount of energy as a fastball.  (hat tip for getting me reading about this stuff: today's APOD)

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» FOE. from languagehat.com
Dropping by The Tensor, I found a post about a new unit of measurement, the foe; as the Wikipedia entry says, "A foe is a unit of energy equal to 1044 joules." Naturally, my first thought was not "Man, that's... [Read More]

Tracked on Mar 7, 2006 8:47:21 AM

Comments

So what's the etymology??

Posted by: language hat at Mar 7, 2006 6:28:32 AM

Never mind, I found it: ten to the Fifty-One Ergs.

Posted by: language hat at Mar 7, 2006 6:30:07 AM

Bloglines doesn't show superscript. I was *really* confused until I clicked through to Wikipedia! :-)

Posted by: Andy B at Mar 7, 2006 6:55:18 AM

And, linguistically, how often do you get to talk about the Greisen-Zatsepin-Kuzmin limit?

Posted by: x at Mar 7, 2006 2:12:16 PM

And, linguistically, how often do you get to talk about the Greisen-Zatsepin-Kuzmin limit?

Not to mention doubly-special relativity (which most people are probably only familiar with from its cameo appearance in Animal House).

Posted by: The Tensor at Mar 7, 2006 2:56:22 PM