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Enormous Explosions!

Supernovas are amazing! They are the most enormous explosions humans have ever seen. Sometimes bright enough to be visible as stars in the daytime.

Galaxy NGC2441

Most of the dots in this picture of galaxy NGC2441 are groups of stars. The one in the circle is a tiny white dwarf that has exploded in supernova SN1995E.

Image credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Hubble SM4 ERO Team, NASA, ESA, Acknowledgement: Claude Cornen and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Images of the remains of three supernovas

QUOTE FROM AUTHOR MILES HUDSON

“People used to think that all the heavier elements were made in supernova explosions. We now know that things aren’t so simple! Some elements can only be made when neutron stars collide. Luckily, supernovas often leave behind a neutron star.”

What is a Supernova?

Davide Racco of the Perimeter Institute chats with Miles Hudson

Drifting Wisps of Dust and Gas

Supernova explosions leave behind drifting wisps of dust and gas, and at their centre is either a black hole or a neutron star.

In this double cluster of young stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud, astronomers believe the blue wisps on the left are the remains of the most amazing fireworks display ever.

These thin dust cloud patterns were left over from many older supernovas. They were photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope in the mid-90s.

YOUR MISSION, SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT …

YOUR MISSION, SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT …

YOUR MISSION, SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT …

YOUR MISSION, SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT …

Stellar Detective Work

Supernova remnants – the bits left behind when a star explodes – can tell us a lot about the star that was there.

Your Task

Do some research about supernovasblack holesneutron stars, and nebulae. Then write a detective story where you find some remains of a supernova and explain what other observations you looked for so that you could work out what had been there before.

To help you with your research, try clicking the Space Forensics image for an awesome NASA game!

– MISSION END –

– MISSION END –

– MISSION END –

– MISSION END –

Your Journey So Far …

Tanno and Iguda have explored these places up to now. You can go back and visit again by clicking below.

Universe

Black Holes

Dark Matter

Galaxies

Supernovas

Great to see you here, thank you for the visit! See you next time …

Tanno & Iguda