Material Detail

What Is a Supernova?

What Is a Supernova?

A supernova is an exploding star that can become billions of times as bright as the sun before gradually fading from view. At its maximum brightness, the exploded star may outshine an entire galaxy. The explosion throws a large cloud of dust and gas into space. The mass of the expelled material may exceed 10 times the mass of the sun.

Astronomers recognize two types of supernovae -- Type I and Type II. Type I supernovae probably occur in...

Show More


  • Editor Reviews
  • User Rating
  • Comments
  • Learning Exercises
  • Bookmark Collections
  • Course ePortfolios
  • Accessibility Info

More about this material


Log in to participate in the discussions or sign up if you are not already a MERLOT member.