A flame that burns twice as much burns half as long. So when a distant star shines five billion times brighter than our sun, you know it is not long after this world. NASA̵
Supernovae are dying stars that, when they reach critical mass, become hot enough to ignite a sustained thermonuclear process – like an atomic bomb or a punctured lithium-ion battery. The SN 2018gv supernova began as a white dwarf and accelerated towards its critical mass as it accumulated material from a companion star.
But interestingly enough, the SN 2018gv supernova broke no records for brightness. This is because supernovae of this type always peak at the same brightness before falling apart. Astronomers can even calculate the distance between cosmic bodies by comparing a supernova’s “observable” brightness with the actual, standard brightness. A nice party trick, if you ask me.
NASA’s SN 2018gv timelapse is available on YouTube, but it’s only 30 seconds long. Now that the SN 2018gv supernova is no longer … “super”, astronomers can continue to observe the region to study how supernovae transform into nebulae (which are the clouds of dust left behind by a massive cosmic explosion).