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Cosmic Explosions
MARCH 2007
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Photo caption by Neil Shea
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Death Blossom
Image by Adam Burrows, University of Arizona

Some supernovas take place when a massive star collapses and somehow triggers an explosion—a process that scientists long had difficulty understanding. Recently, researchers, aided by powerful computers, have begun building simulations like this one, which shows a star at an early stage in its explosion. Here, the yellow dot in the middle is the star's core, collapsing into a neutron star; red and blue represent cooler, less dense material being flung from the dying star.

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