Alternative definitions (1), class: vernacular (0)
Term: Supernovae

A violent stellar explosion which blows off all or most of the star's material at high velocity leaving a compact stellar remnant such as a neutron star or black hole. At maximum light, the supernova can have luminosity about 108 or 109 times the solar luminosity. The phenomenon results from the later evolution of stars when an instability sets in the core following the nucleosynthesis of iron. In massive stars, the supernova occurs when the star has used up all its available nuclear fuel and it reaches a lower energy state through gravitational collapse to form a more compact object. In white dwarfs forming binary systems, accretion of mass onto the surface of a neutron star can be sufficient to take the star over the upper mass limit for stability as a white dwarf. Consequently, the white dwarf collapses in a supernova explosion to form a neutron star. There are several supernova types.

Created 2023.04.16
Last Modified 2023.04.16
Contributed by Ryan McGranaghan