Even in death, there can be great beauty. Consider supernova remnants, the results of massive stars dying in great explosions, creating some of the most spectacular cosmic objects around.
Every 50 years or so, a star in our galaxy with more than 10 times the mass of our sun will expire. When such stars die, they go supernova, one of the most violent events in our universe. These explosions shoot off tons of material from the central star at up to 10 percent the speed of light.
Though the area surrounding stars seems empty, it is usually home to vast amounts of interstellar gas and dust. The supernova’s outburst runs into this surrounding material, creating a shockwave and heating it to temperatures greater than 10,000 Celsius. Over thousands of years, the local structure of the gas and dust shapes the stellar outpouring into shells, filaments, and other diffuse forms. Astronomers call these objects supernova remnants.
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