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Questions tagged [supernova]

Questions regarding stars which increase suddenly in energy output due to an explosion which ejected much of its mass.

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34 votes
4 answers
6k views

Are there observable changes in a star about to become supernova, minutes or hours before the explosion?

I am writing a science fiction novel, where a ship is stranded in a single star system (a red supergiant). One of the plot points is the star becoming supernova in several hours, so the characters ...
Alfonso de Terán's user avatar
34 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why is there a gap in this image of supernova discoveries?

I came across this gif showing supernova discoveries from the late 19th century to 2010. Here's the data in 2010: Notice that there's a prominent region shaped like an inverted U in which there are ...
HDE 226868's user avatar
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33 votes
1 answer
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Why don’t supergiants at least start to fuse nickel into even heavier elements before going supernova?

The last primary fusion process to take place in extremely massive stars is silicon burning, where the 28Si produced by oxygen burning is exothermically fused with alpha particle after alpha particle ...
Vikki's user avatar
  • 625
28 votes
2 answers
5k views

When stars explode after running out of fuel, why are new stars born from the remnants?

I'm not a physicist or have a very good physics background but I've often wondered why there are new stars that are born in the nebula which was created after the parent star has exploded. As I ...
artas2357's user avatar
  • 383
28 votes
2 answers
4k views

Are we really star-stuff from the interior of collapsing stars?

Carl Sagan has said several times that we are "star-stuff". One instance can be found in Good Reads' Carl Sagan > Quotes > Quotable Quote: The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the ...
uhoh's user avatar
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26 votes
4 answers
8k views

What would happen if someone had a telescope and watched Betelgeuse when it goes supernova?

Would that person go blind? Neutrino detectors and the abundance of Neutrinos would detect the upcoming visible show about 3 hours before any visible signs, so there would be time to point certain ...
userLTK's user avatar
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26 votes
2 answers
6k views

Why do stars explode?

I always hear the narrator of documentaries say that a star explodes because it ran out of fuel. Usually things explode when they have too much fuel, not when they run out of fuel. Please explain...
Lorry Laurence mcLarry's user avatar
24 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why are there so few supernovae in M31 (Andromeda)?

Estimates of the supernova rate in the Milky Way put it at a few per century, but very few of these are visible from Earth (at least with the naked eye) because of intervening gas and dust clouds). On ...
Steve Linton's user avatar
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23 votes
2 answers
3k views

What observations can be expected on LIGO if any when Betelgeuse goes supernova?

What observations can be expected from the LIGO† gravitational wave observatory if and when Betelgeuse goes supernova? Would we know that Betelgeuse has gone supernova before we see it light up our ...
Lord Loh.'s user avatar
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22 votes
3 answers
6k views

When was it worked out/discovered that our Sun can't go supernova?

As the title says, when did we realise with reasonable confidence that our star is not going to be going out in a supernova blaze of glory? I ask because a while ago I read "The Songs of Distant ...
Wiggo the Wookie's user avatar
22 votes
1 answer
2k views

Are stars expected to become dimmer before a supernova?

With the recent news about the "fainting" of Betelgeuse and the speculation that this might be a precursor to a supernova, I'm wondering if there is any theoretical/observational basis for this ...
user avatar
22 votes
1 answer
592 views

Multi-messenger astronomy: what is the potential of simultaneous detection of gravitational waves and neutrinos from a supernova?

Thanks to the efforts of the aLIGO team, gravitational wave astronomy is a reality. At the same time, neutrino detectors like Hyperkamiokande are becoming much more sensitive. My question is: what ...
ProfRob's user avatar
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21 votes
4 answers
6k views

What would happen if a small black hole fell into a star?

Let's say you created a cannon that can shoot small black holes and you shoot it at some star. Would the star just turn into a black hole silently? Or rather first destabilize and produce a last ...
Filip Sondej's user avatar
21 votes
3 answers
6k views

How often do Type Ia supernovae occur?

Type Ia supernova are used as standard candles. But they also are transient events. This means that to determine the distance of a galaxy using supernovae, you have to wait for one to occur. How often ...
usernumber's user avatar
  • 17.6k
21 votes
2 answers
791 views

Near-Earth supernova

There are 51 stars within 17 light years of the Earth (source). If one of these stars was to become a supernova, how would they effect the Earth?
Larian LeQuella's user avatar
20 votes
1 answer
3k views

What causes fast moving pulsars to move so fast?

This article investigates the traces left in the ISM by fast moving pulsars. Is there a mechanism specific to pulsars that causes them to move so fast, or are there just as many fast moving stars? ...
usernumber's user avatar
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19 votes
2 answers
4k views

Does any iron fuse in stars before they go supernova?

I understand that iron and all heavier elements consume more energy to produce than they make, and that is what eventually leads to a supernova. I also understand that a lot of the heavier elements ...
caffein's user avatar
  • 293
18 votes
2 answers
22k views

Will Earth lose the Moon before the Sun goes into supernova?

I've read that the Moon is moving away from the Earth by 1-3cm per year. Is this enough to make the Earth lose the Moon before the Sun goes supernova? I'm asking because I would like to do the ...
hawaii's user avatar
  • 345
18 votes
2 answers
7k views

What does it mean for a star to go nova or supernova? Can I safely observe these?

What does it mean for a star when people say it goes 'nova' or super nova, what are the differences? More importantly, can I safely observe these with an amateur telescope? I imagine they would be ...
user avatar
15 votes
1 answer
370 views

How quickly does a supernova heat up/expand?

Suppose there's a star out there that's a lot more massive than the Sun. Suppose further that orbiting this star is a planet not unlike Earth. Water, oxygen, civilization, and all. Now the star ...
Ricky's user avatar
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14 votes
2 answers
4k views

How can many stars be formed from the remains of one supernova?

A supernova is the explosion of a single star; so how is it that thousands of stars can "be born of" that one explosion (presumably only using the unspent fuel / lighter elements of the ...
Still.Tony's user avatar
14 votes
1 answer
2k views

Could it be possible to detect planets from stars that went supernova through the resulting nebula shape?

It ocurred me, if a star with at least one planetary companion undergoes a nova or supernova, we shoud expect the debris to be deflected to some degree, on exit. To ilustrate it, first let's take the ...
ksousa's user avatar
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14 votes
3 answers
2k views

Is there enough hydrogen left after a star dies so another star will have enough to light up?

A star consumes quite a lot of hydrogen in its life, and is pretty much "vacuuming" everything in its vicinity. After it dies (eventually by supernova which will spread all its composition over light ...
Andrei's user avatar
  • 159
14 votes
1 answer
263 views

How will the recent appearance of a supernova, the closest in 27 years, help reduce the uncertainties in our measurements of dark energy?

A supernova has been recently spotted on M82, also known as the cigar galaxy. Being the closest to earth in 27 years and given the advances of technology this article proposes that: ...as the ...
Eduardo Serra's user avatar
13 votes
5 answers
4k views

Is there a possibility that a white dwarf can turn into a neutron star or a black hole?

I know that a white dwarf is supported mainly by electron degeneracy pressure and that if it gains more than about 1.4 solar masses from any source (such as a companion star or a collision), it ...
Baalateja Kataru's user avatar
13 votes
4 answers
4k views

Will Sirius B start accreting from A and become a supernova type Ia?

Sirius B is a massive white dwarf of 1 Solar mass, orbiting at about 25 AU distance from the 2 Solar mass Sirius A. As it evolves and expands, will the A star start shedding matter to the white dwarf, ...
LocalFluff's user avatar
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13 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is oxygen an alpha element?

Type II (core-collapse) supernovae occur shortly after star formation and enrich a galaxy with $\alpha$ elements such as O, C, NE, Mg, Ca and Si. On the other hand, Type Ia supernovae occur on a more ...
quantumflash's user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
2k views

Where did the hydrogen come from in a type II supernova?

Type II supernovae have hydrogen. Where did the hydrogen come from if that is the first element used up in the star's life cycle? Also if our solar system was seeded from an ancient supernova where ...
J.P. MacAllister-Knox's user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
8k views

Is it possible to witness a star's death?

Given that the stars' distances to Earth are measured in light-years (for example, Sirius is 8.6 light-years away from Earth), what we are seeing as Sirius now is actually its state 8.6 years ago, ...
jeff's user avatar
  • 233
12 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why haven’t we observed supernova events of the hypothetical population III stars?

It’s said that we haven’t observed any population III stars because these stars are too far away, which makes them too dim to observe via small diameter space telescopes. Their light is also extremely ...
哲煜黄's user avatar
  • 285
12 votes
1 answer
247 views

How is the first detonation in Supernove type Ia triggered?

Ok, I read about the Supernova of type Ia and I found out that there are two detonations happening. First one is in helium shell around the white dwarf and second one seems to be triggered by the ...
Vojta Klimes's user avatar
12 votes
3 answers
1k views

What do the fusing 'onion layers' of a pre-supernova star look like to scale?

I'm sure we've all seen the diagrams of various layers of element fusion from hydrogen to silicon in a star that's just about to go supernova. (Picture from courses.lumenlearning.com) I suspect ...
Ingolifs's user avatar
  • 4,155
11 votes
6 answers
7k views

Did I see a supernova explosion?

I think I just saw a supernova explode with my own eyes through my GSO 12 inch Dobsonian. Please tell me what it was! I am still trying to find what it was it was mindblowing! I went out on my roof ...
Saurabh Arora's user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
3k views

Why does iron consume more energy in the fusion process than it produces?

I understand that once a star starts fusing iron, it's doomed to collapse because iron fusion requires more energy than it releases in the process, allowing the opposing gravity of the star to cause ...
echineve's user avatar
  • 111
11 votes
1 answer
462 views

Was the "green star" event in NGC 3314 ever figured out or named?

from NGC 3314 Variable Object by By Bill Keel (University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa) and Lisa Frattare (Hubble Heritage Project, STScI). The object in question is circled. Comments below this answer led ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 31.1k
11 votes
1 answer
525 views

In what timeframe is W26 expected to go supernova?

All the news-articles say that it is expected to "eventually" explode. Which doesn't really tell me much. When is "eventually"? Also, considering this is the largest star in the known universe and 16k ...
yippy_yay's user avatar
  • 275
11 votes
1 answer
261 views

Do mixed type remnant collisions produce anything interesting?

The recent detection of a binary neutron star inspiraling and colliding raises an interesting question in my mind. Type Ia supernovae are believed to be caused by white dwarf/regular star pairs and/or ...
Sean Lake's user avatar
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11 votes
2 answers
289 views

How often does Earth cross the galaxy regions with higher supernovae activity?

According to Summa Technologiae, a book by a Polish author Stanisław Lem that based his science fiction novels on scientific research of the era, the Earth crossed in the moment of forming of life the ...
user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
2k views

How are neutrinos able to cause a supernova explosion?

I was trying to understand the type II supernovae's core collapse mechanism from Wikipedia. As the core's density increases, it becomes energetically favorable for electrons and protons to merge via ...
Kshitij Kumar's user avatar
10 votes
6 answers
3k views

Why does matter stay collapsed in the core, following a supernova explosion?

Following a supernova explosion a star may turn into a white dwarf, neutron star, black hole, or just a stellar dust & gas leftover. Excluding the latter case, why and how does the star's core ...
Riccardo's user avatar
  • 223
10 votes
3 answers
1k views

Can the supernova remnant SN 1572 be observed by amateur astronomers?

The SN 1572 remnant, also called Tycho's supernova remnant, is beautiful in X-ray images. It seems to be rather dim in visible light. Are there any amateur photographs of this object? How long are the ...
Arne's user avatar
  • 2,293
10 votes
1 answer
2k views

What is a hypernova and have we observed any?

Inspired by the question "What does it mean for a star to go nova or supernova? Can I safely observe these?", I am curious about what hypernovas are? Have we observed any occurring, or the at least ...
user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
824 views

Metallicity in gravitational wave astronomy

Metallicity relates to the quantity of elements in an object that are heavier than hydrogen and helium. I often see this terminology in recent studies of gravitational waves such as this paper. If I ...
Junaid Ihsan's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why do type Ia supernovas produce more iron than type II

My course book on astronomy states the following. Older stars seem have higher oxygen abundances than iron. Explanation is that back in the days when these older stars were being formed type II ...
Stijn D'hondt's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
223 views

What will be Supernova SN 2014J's peak brightness?

What is the expected maximum apparent magnitude of supernova SN 2014J? When will it attain peak brightness?
Sheldon's user avatar
  • 91
9 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why did it take so long for SN1987A to reach peak brightness?

The light from SN1987A first reached us on February 23, 1987, and its brightness peaked in mid May, almost 3 months later. However, every source that I can find states that it normally only takes a ...
blademan9999's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
570 views

Will the nebula of Betelgeuse be visible to the naked eye? How bright, how large, how soon, for how long?

When Betelgeuse goes core collapse supernova it will leave a supernova remnant. Will it become visible to the naked eye? If so, in what time frame will it be visible. Will it be star like from the ...
LocalFluff's user avatar
  • 11.4k
9 votes
1 answer
407 views

Do pop III stars undergo supernova or direct collapse?

Population III stars were the first stars to form. They are hypothesised as being very massive, i.e., > 100 M$_{\odot}$. My question regards how do these stars end their lives? An old orthodoxy for ...
Daddy Kropotkin's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
437 views

Do all massive stars explode?

I've read a few articles written in $2008$ that some stars which have enough mass just collapse into black holes without a supernova, is this proven?
kingW3's user avatar
  • 465
8 votes
1 answer
656 views

What would the effects on or around Earth if Betelgeuse went supernova?

There's been a lot of news lately about Betelgeuse possibly exploding sooner than perhaps was expected. Some examples: Guinan, Edward F.; Wasatonic, Richard J.; Calderwood, Thomas J. (8 December 2019)...
jvriesem's user avatar
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