A supernova explosion is a tremendously luminous and powerful stellar explosion witnessed by only a few astronomers every century.
This rare celestial event happens when a rapidly spinning white dwarf triggers runaway fusion inside itself, causing a huge explosion of radiation in a short amount of time. While supernovas can happen at any time, they are most common around other stars within our galaxy. Supernovas can have many different outcomes. Some can produce gamma-ray bursts visible to Earth, while others may produce gamma-ray bursts that are too faint to detect or detectable through telescopes.
The explosions of supernovae can only be seen with the use of very sensitive equipment such as Very Small Telescope (VST) instruments and NASA’s Very Large Telescope (VST/GBT).
Many astronomers are however finding that these explosions seem to occur most frequently around very small compact groups of stars called dwarf planets. Although it is nearly impossible to study all the stars in a galaxy, astronomers are able to detect many of the inner solar system’s giant planets like Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto. Furthermore, many of the more exotic giant planets have been discovered by astronomers through the study of supernovae explosions. While these discoveries help us learn more about the universe, they also give us valuable knowledge of the nature of white dwarfs, which are extremely compact, relatively cool, and relatively stable candidates for forming a planet around another star.
Astronomers can watch supergiant stars in a cluster through a technique called gravitational lenses. When a bright star falls onto a compact mass, such as a dust particle or a galaxy, it creates a deformation that will eventually produce a very strong lens that will send out radio waves to observe the supergiant. By watching carefully, astronomers can see the effects of supernovae explosions, when stars born from these massive groups of gas go off and into supergalactic space.
There are several theories about what causes supernovae explosions. One theory is that a very dense element, such as hydrogen, gets ionized by the high temperatures and radiation created by a very large star in the cluster. When the star goes supergiant, its outer layers start to rapidly collapse in on itself, creating huge holes. These holes are very short, allowing elements to escape into space very quickly. This theory also explains why very few dwarf stars have been discovered.
Astronomers believe that supernovae are caused by the merging of two black holes that are much too small to actually become a star.
One of them will wind up being pulled into the black hole, while the other continues on its own path. Other theories are that these explosions are caused by collisions between extremely compact celestial bodies or by the destruction of a very large asteroid or comet. Astronomers haven’t determined a model to fit all the different theories, but the one that is the most accepted by the scientific community is that supernovae are caused by collisions of very compact extremely heavy objects. This makes sense because the energy needed to create a gamma-ray burst from a galaxy or a black hole is enormous.
White dwarfs have an irregular elliptical orbit about a sun-like star.
They are extremely dense but weigh so little that their relative size would not allow them to enter a planetary system. It is very unlikely that a supernova explosion will trigger the collapse of such a system. Instead, astronomers suspect that these explosions trigger a rapid expansion of gas and matter that is too vast to enter the system through a star’s gravity. This inflation causes a shockwave or “supersonic” to radiate from the white dwarf at the rate of about 10 kilometers per second out to space.
Since supernovae explosions are extremely rare, they are useful for tracking the evolution of the cosmos and of heavenly bodies in general.
If astronomers could only watch one supernova explosion on one night in our galaxy, they might be able to learn much about how the evolution of the universe works. By observing a supernovae explosion over multiple nights in a spiral galaxy like M 32, they could see the explosions as the cores of planets developed and cooled, eventually becoming a black hole.
When supernovae explosions take place, they typically result in more mass extinction than a normal star would, and can outdistance the most massive known planets in our own galaxy by several light years. However, if a supernova explosion occurs close to a host white dwarf, it can cause it to wobble. This wobble can significantly alter the position of the dwarf star and can cause the dwarf star to lose its habitable zone (the region around which it stays most of the time). This is what is meant by “planetary satellites.” While dwarf stars are not too stable, they do tend to move slightly, and this slight movement can cause them to indirectly influence the stability of nearby planets and their atmospheres.
A supernovae explosion can also give rise to a secondary explosion that is just as powerful, but can not result in the formation of a black hole or a companion system.
In fact, these secondary explosions are usually not strong enough to produce highly energetic gamma rays, which means that astronomers don’t generally catch them with their telescopes when they are nearby. Rather, they occur far away, in space where the gravitational pull of very heavy objects like very dark matter and dark solar wind becomes so extreme that it causes a sudden outburst of high-energy radiation known as a stellar shock.
Stellar shock is similar to the aftermath of a gamma ray burst, but it involves relatively low energy production.
Instead, the blast creates an excess of nuclear fusion in a rapidly spinning core, which is very hot. This results in the brightness of the star collapsing to very high levels, and is a supernova. A supernova occurs when the outer shell of the star collapses due to gravity, giving off enormous amounts of radiation in the process. When astronomers see a supernova explosion happen, they notice the core is expanding, contracting, heating, and brightening – all in a very short period of time.
Supernovae explosions are very rare, but scientists have spotted many supernova explosions through research. When a supernova explodes, it can create a shock wave that will reach the earth’s atmosphere, and scientists have even found explosions in our own solar system. However, if you want to get involved in finding these explosions, you need a supernova itself, or if you want to study the effects of a supernova, you will need to look for the supernova itself or its surrounding gas. If you find a supernova with its own companion, it will make it easier to study and could help us better understand supernovae.