You Are At: AllSands Home > Science > Supernova information
On earth we can only see the densest part of the galaxy as it stretches out across the sky appearing to be a band of faint lights. This band, known as the Milky Way contains numerous gas clouds in which stars are continuously forming and dying. This galaxy is made up of over 100 billion stars and is a spiral shaped disc. Our sun and other stars are moving in space as the galaxy rotates. Beyond the galaxy where earth is found are many other galaxies. Most are spiral shaped like our own Milky Way. Others are elliptical galaxies which contain mostly old stars and have no gas or dust to make new ones. A quasar is believed to be a galaxy in a very early stage of evolution while a barred spiral galaxy has a central bar of stars. With so many galaxies filled with billions of stars it makes sense that from time to time a supernova will occur.
The dying blaze of glory of stars that are no less than ten times heavier than the sun are known as supernovas. From birth through most of their early life all larger stars have similar experiences as that of smaller stars. But, because of their mass, larger stars tend to grow old much faster. Swelling into red giants that become several hundred times larger than the size of the sun, they go through a series of uncontrolled nuclear reactions at their centers. Eventually this leads to a nuclear eruption of the star as it becomes a supernova.
Erupting stars, as supernovas, usually show an amazing increase in brightness even growing billions of times brighter than it was before the eruption. These eruptions may last for weeks or even months. The outer layer of the star shatter and are thrown off forming an object much like the Crab nebula. From time to time a star will completely blow itself to bits forming a supernova. More often than not, the stars core is left causing what is known as a neutron star. These can be detected by pulsars which are radio astronomers that emit flashes of radio waves while the rapidly spin.
Black holes are formed when the core of an exploding star is so compressed that its gravity becomes strong enough to pull everything within its range, including light, into it. When this happens all matter falling into the hole is sucked into oblivion.