What is a Supernova?


What is a Supernova?
What is a Supernova?

A supernova is a massive explosion of a dying star. The event occurs during the last evolutionary stages of a massive star, which is dying.  The explosions are extremely bright and powerful. The star, after explosion, turns into a neutron star or a black hole, or is completely destroyed.

What causes supernova?

A supernova takes place when there is a change in the centre of a star. There are two ways in which the change can occur that results in a supernova.

The first type of change happens in a binary star system. It occurs when one of the stars takes away all the matter from the other star in the system. This results in too much matter for one star, which leads to explosion or supernova.

In the other type of change, a star, which is at the end of its lifetime, runs out of nuclear fuel. Due to this, some of the mass moves into the star’s core, which makes the core too heavy to withstand its own gravitational force. The core collapses resulting in a supernova.

Supernovae are often seen in other galaxies. In our Milky Way Galaxy, not many supernovae are observed because dusts block our view. Johannes Kepler, in 1604, discovered the last observed supernova in the Milky Way Galaxy. Nasa’s Chandra telescope discovered the most recent supernova, which exploded in our galaxy more than a hundred years ago.

How do scientists detect supernova?

Scientists use different types of telescope to detect and study supernovae.  They use visible lights, x-rays and gamma rays emitted from the explosions. The Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray observatory are used to capture images of supernovae.

Studying supernova helps in studying the universe. The universe is still expanding. Supernovae also distribute elements and debris to different parts of the universe. They help in forming new planets, stars and other space objects. Some of the elements found in Earth’s core are found in stars.

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