On the morning of Feb. 23, 1987, a couple of dozen subatomic particles known as neutrinos zinged through specially instrumented underground sensors in Japan, Ohio and Russia. The particles had squirted from the core of a collapsing star 163,000 light years away in a small galaxy known as the Large Magellanic Cloud. They were the heralds of doom.
On their heels, a couple of hours later came a rising blitzkrieg of light, heat, X-rays, shock waves, and rings and knots of gas and all manner of
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