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Hubble Telescope Finds A Distant Supernova

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Supernovae are the result of the explosion of a massive star, and they release so much energy and light that they can actually be brighter than the combined light of an entire galaxy. The remnants of the explosion can be observed for weeks before it finally fades back. No supernovae have been observed in our own galaxy since 1604, but astronomers have seen many supernovae in other galaxies since. Supernovae are of particular importance for two reasons. First -- the force of their shockwaves can begin the process of forming new stars, thus maintaining the cycle of stellar evolution. Second, they're the primary source of most heavy elements, such as iron. If it weren't for supernovae that occurred billions of years ago, the elements we need to survive wouldn't exist -- and neither would we.

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This animation shows how a black hole may have for... by Kyle McDermott on Tuesday, Sep 4, 2012 at 6:58:00 PM