Written by Riyaan Kaul, a grade 4 student.
Space has all kinds of interesting objects like stars, black holes, and supernovas. Outer space has many different galaxies like the Milky Way, Andromeda and Messier 81. The Earth is part of the Milky Way galaxy.
So, what do you think a supernova is?
A Supernova is an enormous explosion that happens during the last evolutionary stages of massive stars.
The original object either collapses into a Neutron Star or black hole, or it just gets destroyed. The most recently seen Supernova was called the Kepler’s Supernova, which was named after Johannes Kepler, who discovered it. It was seen in the Milky way in 1604, but its remains are still being found.
Supernovae is the plural word of supernova, and in Latin nova means “new”. SN 1987 A is the name of the most recently seen naked-eye star. In fact, supernovae are the biggest explosions ever seen by human beings. Massive stars are about 1 million times the mass of earth and can collapse in 15 seconds!!! This creates a shockwave that causes the outer part of the star to explode. The Crab Nebula is the leftover of a giant star in the Milky Way Galaxy that exploded 6,500 light-years away. Only two or three supernovas occur every century. Supernovas can be so bright that they can light up their whole Galaxy for a few days, or even a few months. Some space research organizations use X-rays or Gamma rays to locate the supernovas.
Supernovas are caused when there is a change in the centre of a star. A supernova burns for a very short amount of time, but by that short time scientists can learn a lot about the universe. Supernovas are especially important in space because when they explode they shoot out elements. Some elements on earth are made out of stars’ cores.
You would be interested to know than in the past even young children have discovered supernovas. In 2008 a teenager discovered a supernova. In Jan 2011, a 10 – year old girl looked at pictures on her computer that an astronomer took, and she managed to see a supernova in one of those pictures that the astronomer somehow missed. So maybe next time you are looking at some pictures of the night sky you might be able to spot a supernova. All you need to know is what a supernova looks like. A supernova looks like an enormous circular light in the sky and it can explode anytime. So if you are going to be an astronaut beware of Supernovas, but if you are at a safe distance from space, make sure you look out for this once in a lifetime opportunity.