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Energy in supernovae

  1. Jun 27, 2012 #1
    Ok, this is something that I've been trying to figure out for a while now. Where does the energy for a supernova explosion come from and if the star can produce this energy, then why does it collapse under its own gravity? Surely it would have the energy to continue on as a star in whatever stage it was in before dying?

    Thanks for any help...
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 27, 2012 #2

    LURCH

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    Science Advisor

    Suppose you drop a ball from 6' up. The ball hits the floor and bounces back up to 5'. But you wouldn't ask, "If the ball had enough energy to bounce back up to 5', why didn't it just stop at 5'?".

    A supernova is kind of like that; the energy released is a result of the collapse, and not available untill after that collapse has occurred. You can think of it as the "bounce back" from the star collapsing.
     
  4. Jun 27, 2012 #3

    Drakkith

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    Staff: Mentor

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