the explosion of a star, possibly caused by gravitational collapse, during which the star's luminosity increases by as much as 20 magnitudes and most of the star's mass is blown away at very high velocity, sometimes leaving behind an extremely dense core.
the star undergoing such an explosion.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024
How to use supernova in a sentence
What they’re finding is that without turbulence, collapsing stars may never form supernovas at all.
While the overall number of supernovae checks out, they’re in all the wrong places.Stars are dying all across the galaxy—why don’t we see them? | Charlie Wood | December 16, 2020 | Popular-Science
A detection of either one might be an early sign of a supernova.Betelgeuse went dark, but didn’t go supernova. What happened? | Lisa Grossman | November 29, 2020 | Science News
She’s getting a closeup look at the physics of exploding stars, or supernovas, a phenomenon so immense that its power is difficult to put into words.Giant lasers help re-create supernovas’ explosive, mysterious physics | Emily Conover | November 12, 2020 | Science News
Astronomers describe these celestial fireworks as a supernova.
I know that gold, for example, is made from the death of a star—a supernova.
They were two artists at the pinnacle of their careers combining their respective star powers into one nearly blinding supernova.
Other theories hold that it was a supernova or an alignment of two or three planets.
Mr. Luma de Oliveira, they called him, after his supernova wife, whom he later divorced.The Rise And Fall Of Brazilian Billionaire Eike Batista | Mac Margolis | November 9, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
Mr. Luma de Oliveira, they called him, after his supernova (now ex-) wife.The Brutal Fall of Brazilian Billionaire Eike Batista | Mac Margolis | June 25, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
It could keep out the terrific heat of a supernova, but couldn't keep in the heat of the planet after the supernova had died.Islands of Space | John W Campbell
Once a Beowulfer vanished in a supernova flash, and when the ball of incandescence widened to nothing the ship was gone.Space Viking | Henry Beam Piper
She wasn't much to look at—not ugly, just small, brunette, and unspectacular—but she was a supernova of an assistant.Industrial Revolution | Poul William Anderson
He gestured furiously toward the fuselage of the old supernova.By Proxy | Gordon Randall Garrett
British Dictionary definitions for supernova
a star that explodes catastrophically owing to either instabilities following the exhaustion of its nuclear fuel or gravitational collapse following the accretion of matter from an orbiting companion star, becoming for a few days up to one hundred million times brighter than the sun. The expanding shell of debris (the supernova remnant) creates a nebula that radiates radio waves, X-rays, and light, for hundreds or thousands of years: Compare nova
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Scientific definitions for supernova
A massive star that undergoes a sudden, extreme increase in brightness across the electromagnetic spectrum, followed by a more gradual decrease lasting from several days to several months. Supernovae occur when a supergiant star collapses suddenly at the end of its life, condensing its core material into an extremely compact mass that then undergoes a slight rebound. The resulting shock wave sends all matter surrounding the core flying into space, leaving a neutron star or black hole at the site of the core's collapse. Supernovae may also occur when a white dwarf accretes material from a companion red giant star, resulting in an increase in mass that eventually triggers carbon fusion in the core of the white dwarf; the sudden increase in available fuel causes energy to be released in a violent explosion. In both cases the shock waves induce further fusion in the matter surrounding the collapsed core; the many elements resulting from this fusion and from the various other stages of nucleosynthesis over the lifetime of the star are scattered into space. These elements serve as the material from which new stellar and planetary systems are formed; in fact, every heavy element found on Earth is thought to have been the product of supernovae explosions. The last supernova to be observed in the Milky Way was seen in 1604 by Johannes Kepler and was used by Galileo, at his trial, as evidence against the presupposition that the universe never changes. Compare nova.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Cultural definitions for supernova
A large star in its death throes that suddenly explodes, increasing many thousands of times in brightness.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.