You'll Want to Watch This Mesmerizing Supernova Flash GIF Over and Over Again
NASA scientists captured images of a supernova, or an exploding star, for the first time on March 21, 2016 and we are totally transfixed by the video. While NASA has been able to see supernovae for some time, they were only capable of obtaintaing video of the ephemeral flash by monitoring 500 galaxies every 30 minutes for three years. And we're so elated they did.
Scientists used a Keplar space telescope to catch the star as it burst — it's the same telescope that has successfully discovered thousands of other planets. The supernova in the video, technically named KSN 2011d, is a red supergiant, which has the greatest volume of all the star classifications though they are not the biggest stars in size. Supergiants are also considered to be some of the most luminous stars — and that's definitely apparent here! Keplar was able to spot KSN 2011d's 20-minute blast, despite being 1.2 billion light years away. We're not exactly sure how far away that is, but we're positive Google Maps cannot get you there. The discovery is a monumental step in dissecting the life cycle of stars and it's especially indicative of how different classifications of stars end their life cycles. As NASA analyzes its findings, we're just going to sit mesmerized by the supernova's explosion. Maybe after several hundred loops we'll watch this video of two black holes colliding.