MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Supernova. Computer illustration of a star exploding as a supernova. A supernova marks the catastrophic death of a star of several solar masses. When the star runs out of nuclear fuel, it cannot create enough energy to balance the force of gravity, and collapses. The core collapses until the density is so great that it is incompressible. The still- collapsing outer layers then rebound off the super-dense core, and form an outward shock wave which blows the star's outer layers into space. For a time, a supernova may outshine an entire galaxy.
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