SCIENCE SOURCE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE SOURCE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
This illustration explains the process that astronomers think triggered the explosion in SN 2006gy. When a star is very massive, its core can produce so much gamma-ray light that some of the energy from the radiation is converted into particle and anti-particle pairs. The resulting drop in energy causes the star to collapse under its own huge gravity. After this violent collapse, runaway thermonuclear reactions (not shown here) ensue and the star explodes, spewing the remains into space.
Model release not required. Property release not required.