Earth and Space

The little supernova

Stories from Physics for 11-14 14-16 IOP RESOURCES

In 2008, one of the faintest supernovae ever recorded was detected by a 14-year-old amateur astronomer. Caroline Moore, from upstate New York, used a small telescope to image an unusual astronomical explosion which was a thousand times less powerful than a supernova (the destructive death of a star) but a thousand times more powerful than a nova (a release of energy from material accreted from a white dwarf in a binary system). A number of models have been proposed for the phenomenon including the collapse of a massive star into a black hole with limited radiation of energy.


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