What’s a supernova?

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What’s a supernova?

Every single star in the universe has an origin and an end. Some of them, like our Sun, may exist for about ten billion years; others, the largest stars, can last up to twenty billion years. But they all die. That last stage, almost the blink of an eye compared to the rest of its lifespan, is called a supernova.

When any star reaches the old age, that is, when it runs out of fuel after millions of years, it is unable to contain its power and suddenly collapses. In less than 15 seconds, the dying star explodes with such power that its outer layers will be launched into space at 20,000 kilometres per second. This is one of the most violent events in the universe.

Astronomer Johannes Kepler was the first to talk about the death of stars, since he witnessed one in 1604. It was the famous “Kepler’s star”, which he thought was a very bright star, not a supernova as such. In any case, this observation laid the foundations for the study of this type of phenomena and, in fact, thanks to this and similar observations the famous dark energy, which makes up about two thirds of the content of the universe, was discovered.