Back to School at FamilyEducation.com

SUPERNOVAS

A massive star dies in an explosion called a supernova. Only the collapsed core remains. If the core is very dense it becomes a neutron star which rotates rapidly, sending out beams of energy. If these beams reach Earth they are picked up as pulses, and the body is called a pulsar. A supernova also occurs if a white dwarf star in a binary pair blows up when material from the other star falls on it.

SUPERNOVA 1987A

On 23 February, 1987 a brilliant new star seemed to blaze in the Large Magellanic Cloud. It was easily visible to the naked eye. In fact, it was not a new star, but an existing star (called Sanduleak -69°202) that had exploded as a supernova.

THE CRAB SNR

The glowing cloud called the Crab SNR was caused by a supernova first recorded by Chinese astronomers in ad 1054. When the supernova exploded it blasted a great cloud of gas into space. Astronomers call such a cloud a supernova remnant (SNR). Inside the Crab SNR is a pulsar, flashing on and off 30 times a second.

BIOGRAPHY: JOCELYN BELL BURNELL British, 1943-

Astronomer Bell Burnell discovered the first pulsar when working as a research student at the Cambridge radio observatory. On 6 August, 1967, she picked up an unusual radio signal: pulses repeating every 1.337 seconds. Astronomers later identified the pulses as coming from a rapidly rotating neutron star.

FIND OUT MORE

Galaxies
Nebulas

Copyright © 2007 Dorling Kindersley

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit BICFightForYourWrite.com to sign our petition to save handwriting!

11 Coolest Lunch Boxes for Kids
Send your child's lunch to school in style! Check out our picks for the 11 best lunch boxes with great features from BPA-free accessories to spill-resistant fabric.

7 Important Back-to-School Safety Tips
Follow these back-to-school safety tips to make sure your child stays safe on the way to school, in the classroom, and while on the playground.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!