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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

The Conservation Alliance

Supernova Animations
Hugh Bollinger

Supernova Animations

Supernova explosion viewed by Kepler (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech, Kepler Space Telescope)

CalTech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory developed animations of two supernovas observed by the Kepler Space Telescope.

The first is a white dwarf, the burned-out, dense remnant of a star, that can no longer consume its nuclear fuel. Its massive gravity, produced by its density, drew matter from a companion star before exploding in a supernova. When the white dwarf reached 1.4x the size of our Sun's mass, it couldn't sustain the weight, and exploded in a 'fast-evolving luminous transient' (FELT) event.


The second JPL animation shows a supernova created when two circling white dwarfs merged.

Either way, the stellar events would have been impressive to watch from a safe distance. The space telescope offers a safer alternative.


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