This is an excerpt from an article by Charles Q. Choi for Follow the link to read full story



Astronomers have discovered a new kind of supernova, a star explosion so weak that scientists dubbed it a miniature stellar blast.

Supernovas represent the deaths of stars, which collapse in powerful explosions. They generally are classified into two main types; the new class, called Type Iax, “is essentially a mini-supernova,” said lead researcher Ryan Foley, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. “It’s the runt of the supernova litter.”

Supernovas are the most powerful stellar explosions known to science, visible all the way to the edge of the universe. The first of the two main flavors, Type Ia supernovas, happen after a white dwarf star dies from siphoning off too much mass from a companion star. In contrast, Type II supernovas occur after the core of a star about 10 to 100 times as massive as the sun runs out of fuel and collapses into an extraordinarily dense lump in a fraction of a second, blasting luminous radiation outward.


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