MEHAU KULYK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MEHAU KULYK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Supernova. Illustration depicting the explosion of a star as a supernova. A supernova occurs when a star of more than a few solar masses runs out of nuclear 'fuel' in its core. As the resulting radiation pressure decreases, the star collapses under gravity. The rapid collapse temporarily creates enormous energy, and the star can shine brighter than an entire galaxy. In the supernova explosion, some of the outer gas shell of the star is blown out into space along with some heavy elements from the core. The core will collapse further, possibly forming a neutron star or (if very massive) a black hole.
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