Supernova Facts

Supernova Facts
A supernova occurs when a star reaches the end of its life and explodes, radiating tremendous energy and light. This light can outshine the entire galaxy it has exploded in, for a brief time. When a supernova occurs the energy emitted is equal to all the energy our sun already has and will radiate in the future. The energy emitted from a supernova is so powerful it can take months for its brightness to fade. The material expelled from the star's explosion can travel as fast as 30,000 KM each second. Scientists do not believe that our sun, which is also a star, will never explode. It is not big enough.
Interesting Supernova Facts:
The earliest supernova to be observed occurred in 185 AD. It was recorded by Chinese astronomers.
SN 1006 was the brightest supernova to be observed and recorded.
A supernova was observed from earth in 1054 AD. It was documented by Chinese and Islamic astronomers at the time. It was so bright that it could be seen in the daytime. The Crab Nebula is the result of the 1054 AD supernova.
In 1604 Johannes Kepler began to observe a supernova. It is sometimes called Kepler's Star and it occurred in the Milky Way. The supernova's official name is SN 1604. It faded from being visible by the naked eye after a year.
In 1885 a supernova was observed in Andromeda Galaxy, and is called S Andromedae. Without the telescope this supernova would not have been seen from earth.
The shock waves created by supernovas can actually trigger new star formation.
When a supernova occurs it shoots atoms by the billions in every direction. These atoms form beautiful nebulae (clouds of dust, gases, hydrogen and helium).
When a supernova occurs the explosion results in the formation of elements such as gold and uranium. This is due to the extremely high temperatures (in the millions of degrees).
Supernovas are responsible for the elements such as oxygen, nitrogen, iron and carbon that are found on earth.
When a star explodes into a supernova and it is not very big it can end up becoming a nebula and neutron star. A larger one may result in a black hole.
There are two types of supernova. 1) the star builds up matter and a nuclear reaction ignites; 2) the star collapses after running out of fuel.
Because technology allows the viewing of multiple supernova each year, the original labeling system of 'SN' combined with the year it occurred is no longer sufficient. Today a supernova is labeled 'SN' plus the year it occurred, plus two letters. So the first supernova of 2005 would be SN 2005A and the 367th supernova of 2005 was SN 2005nc.
Some theories suggest that the Ordovican-Silurian extinction events that occurred on earth between 447 and 443 million years ago were the result of a supernova. This is considered to be the fifth mass extinction on earth.
Supernovas are considered to be some of the most violent naturally occurring phenomenon in outer space.


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