Strengthen. The correct answer choice is (B)
Current theory regarding supernovas states that when there is a supernova event the size of the one that occurred in 1987, a neutron star should have remained afterward. Yet there is still no evidence of any such neutron star or of the pulse of radiation normally associated with such an event, in spite of searches conducted using some of the most sensitive instruments ever developed. The writer then concludes that current theory is wrong with regard to the assertion that supernovas of a certain size always produce neutron stars.
This stimulus presents the following conditional relationships: If there is a supernova, there is a neutron star, and if there is a neutron star, there is generally a pulse of radiation:
- Supernova neutron star pulse of radiation
We are asked which of the answer choices most strengthens the argument, the conclusion of which is that current theory is wrong with regard to supernovas and neutron stars.
Answer choice (A): This answer choice lends support to current theory, which would actually weaken the author’s conclusion that current theory must be wrong.
Answer choice (B): This is the correct answer choice. If these instruments have detected neutron stars at a greater distance than the 1987 supernova, this would strengthen the case that these instruments would detect a neutron star that resulted from the 1987 supernova, if such a star existed. This lends support to the author’s assertion that current theory must be wrong.
Answer choice (C): This statement neither strengthens nor weakens the writer’s conclusion that the current theory is wrong.
Answer choice (D): Since this answer choice lends credibility to current theory, this weakens the writer’s conclusion that current theory must be wrong.
Answer choice (E): None of this explains the absence of the neutron star in this instance. This information is irrelevant to the writer’s argument regarding current theory. Because it certainly does not strengthen the author’s conclusion, this answer choice should be eliminated.