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Wednesday, July 4, 2007


Supernova, one of the most beautiful visualizations that one can behold in the universe.
A supernova is essentially the explosion of a star in outer space. During a supernova occurrence, a star’s luminosity is increased by as much 20 times as the bulk of the star’s mass is blown away at an extremely high velocity. Supernova remnants, including the signature bright light they leave behind, can often be seen in the night sky by the naked eye for several weeks as it gradually diminishes.
There are several different kinds of supernovae, which are believed to be caused by two distinct sources. One possible cause for Supernova occurrences results from a star halting its generation of fusion energy from fusing the nuclei of atoms in its core, causing it to collapse under the force of its own gravity. Another possible source occurs when a white dwarf star accumulates material from another nearby star until it nears its Chandrasekhar limit and undergoes runaway nuclear fusion in its interior, ultimately leading to its destruction.
Supernovas are generally classified according to the lines of different chemical elements that appear in their spectra, the first of which is hydrogen. If a supernova's spectrum contains a hydrogen line, it is classified as Type II, if this line of hydrogen is not present the Supernova is Type I. Within the Type I and Type II classifications are five sub-classifications that include Type Ia, Type Ib, Type Ic, Type II-P and Type II-L, each having its own distinct chemical and physical characteristics.

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