Supernova alert! Astronomers have just found a way to predict the death of supernovae

Wouldn’t it be nice to know when a giant star is about to die in a catastrophic supernova explosion? A team of astronomers did just that. If you see a red giant star surrounded by a thick envelope of material, watch out – the star will likely explode within a few years.

When a massive star approaches the end of its life, it goes through several violent phases. Deep in the star’s core, it turns from fusing hydrogen to fusing heavier elements, starting with helium and then moving on to carbon, oxygen, magnesium and silicon. At the end of the streak, the star eventually forms the iron in its core. As iron drains energy rather than releases it, this means the star’s end, and in less than twelve minutes, it turns inside out in a brilliant explosion called Supernova.

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