How to observe supernovae has been covered exhaustively in the author’s book, Supernovae, and How to Observe Them. Nevertheless, when talking about the highest-energy events amateur astronomers can observe, we must include supernovae, though the subject will not be covered in as much detail here.
Supernovae mark the end state of a star’s life. In the case of a massive star the progenitor collapses into a neutron star or a black hole when it runs out of fuel. The other category of supernova involves a smaller star, but, perhaps surprisingly, an even brighter explosion. When a white dwarf star goes supernova, it is totally blown apart by a massive thermonuclear detonation (see Figure
4.1). All that is left is its companion star, which was feeding it the hydrogen that led to the explosion.
Black Hole Neutron Star White Dwarf Solar Mass Companion Star
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