Why there are still huge mysteries in supernova physics

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FOR all the talk about a mysterious big bang at the start of the universe, we actually don’t have to go back too far in history to see big bangs. Some stars, like our sun, will end their lives rather quietly, slowly blowing off layers, possibly destroying solar systems in their wake, and leaving behind beautiful structures that garnered the name “planetary nebulae” before we understood what they were. But other, more massive, stars will go out in a fabulous phenomenon called a supernova, where the outer layers of the star collapse onto its core, igniting an explosion.

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