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A supernova is known as the bright flash caused by the exploding death of a large star. When a large star finally burns up all its hydrogen, it collapses and explodes in a powerful, bright burst. It releases a burst of energy called neutrinos that we can detect here on earth.

There are actually 2 types of supernovas. One is the explosion after the core collapse of a massive star decribed above. The other is the thermonuclear explosion of a growing white dwarf star.

In 1604 Johannes Kepler, a famous astronomer, watched a bright new star that had suddenly appeared in the night sky and stayed bright for almost a full year before fading away. This was the first recorded sighting of a supernova and is pictured in the Hubble photograph above.

Only six supernovas have been observed in our Milky Way in the last 1000 years.

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Next Generation Science Standards Connection

ESS1. A  The universe  and its stars
ESS1. B   Earth and the solar system
Patterns of movement of the sun, moon, and stars as seen from Earth can be bserved, described, and predicted has more than 2,000 illustrated animals. Read about them, color them, label them, learn to draw them.