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A foe is a unit of energy equal to 1044 joules or 1051 ergs, used to measure the large amount of energy produced by a supernova.[1]

The word is an acronym derived from the phrase [ten to the power] fifty-one ergs.[2] It was coined by Gerald Brown of Stony Brook University in his work with Hans Bethe, because "it came up often enough in our work".[3]

This unit of measure is convenient because a supernova typically releases about one foe of observable energy in a very short period (which can be measured in seconds). In comparison, if the Sun had its current luminosity throughout its entire lifetime, it would produce 3.827 × 1026 W × 1010 years ≈ 1.2 foe.


  1. ^ Hartmann DH (April 1999). "Afterglows from the largest explosions in the universe". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 96 (9): 4752–5. doi:10.1073/pnas.96.9.4752. PMID 10220364.  
  2. ^ Marc Herant, Stirling A. Colgate, Willy Benz, and Chris Fryer (October 25, 1997). "Neutrinos and Supernovae" (PDF). Los Alamos Sciences. Los Alamos National Laboratory. Retrieved 2008-04-23.  
  3. ^ Gerald Brown (2006). Hans Bethe and His Physics. World Scientific. ISBN 9812566090.  


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