August 8, 2022

A supernova (English: SuperNova) is a star that suddenly increases its luminosity by a billion times (by 20 magnitudes), and sometimes more.

General Data

At its peak, a supernova emits as much light as billions of stars combined. These are the brightest known stars, their luminosity is comparable to the luminosity of the entire galaxy, and sometimes even exceeds it. Supernova explosions are a rather rare phenomenon. In our Milky Way, they are observed approximately once every 500 years, although the expected interval between flares is 50 ± 25 years. Due to their high luminosity, supernovae are observed in other galaxies. A supernova explosion can be observed for weeks or months. For a short time, a supernova illuminates the entire galaxy in which it is located. The Sun needs 10 billion years to produce the energy that is released in the formation of a type 2 supernova. Our Sun is too small to ever go supernova, instead it will turn into a white dwarf.

Notation system

Astronomers use the following system to designate supernovae: letters SN (from Latin SuperNova) opening year serial number of the supernova in this year, which is coded with Latin letters (lat. a, b, ... z, aa, ab, ...) For example, SN 1997cj denotes the supernova discovered in 1997, the 88th in number (3 (c ) * 26 + 10 (j) 88)


There are several different types of supernovae and two different ways of their formation. Classification of supernovae is carried out according to their spectra: Type I supernovae — there are no hydrogen lines in the spectrum during the explosion. The glow curves are almost the same, the difference between them is revealed in the later stages of the flash: Ia — a line of singly ionized silicon at a wavelength of 615 nm is observed at the maximum brightness. This line has a laboratory wavelength of 635.5 nm and is blue-shifted. Iron lines also stand out in the spectrum. The flare is associated with the white dwarf reaching the Chandrasekhar limit (1.4 M☉). The source of radiation is the beta decay of nickel-56 into cobalt-56 and further into iron-56. Ib — the spectrum shows a line of non-ionized helium at a wavelength of 587.6 nm and a weak absorption line of silicon at 615 nm. Progenitors of type Ib and Ic supernovae lose most of their outer hydrogen shell due to strong stellar winds or interactions with a companion star. In their spec