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Cosmic Explosions
MARCH 2007
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Photo caption by Neil Shea
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Last Moments of a Dwarf Star
Images by Friedrich Röpke, University of California at Santa Cruz and Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, Germany. Supercomputing: Oak Ridge National Laboratory and RZG, Germany

One of the universe's biggest bangs begins in a white dwarf star that has sucked extra material from another star nearby. This computer model shows how immense pressure and heat near the center ignite a nuclear firestorm (top left). Burning carbon and oxygen, the blue flame (bottom left) billows outward (top and bottom right).

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