su·​per·​no·​va | \ ˌsü-pər-ˈnō-və How to pronounce supernova (audio) \

Definition of supernova

1 : the explosion of a star in which the star may reach a maximum intrinsic luminosity one billion times that of the sun
2 : one that explodes into prominence or popularity also : superstar

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Did You Know?

A nova, despite its name, isn't actually a "new" star, but rather one that wasn't noticed until it exploded, when it may increase in brightness by a million times before returning to its previous state a few days later. A supernova is far larger; a star in its supernova state may emit a billion times as much light as previously. After a few weeks it begins to dim, until it eventually ceases to exist; it's often replaced by a black hole. (Though remains that were shot out into space may survive; those of a great supernova seen in A.D. 1054 are now known as the Crab Nebula.) All this may serve as a warning to those human stars whose fame explodes too rapidly; supernovas of this kind have sometimes vanished by the following year.

Examples of supernova in a Sentence

tragically, a shoulder injury cut short the pitching career of one of baseball's brightest supernovas
Recent Examples on the Web That film, which rebooted the characters of the original series (Kirk, Spock, and so on) by forking them into an alternate timeline, posited that the alternate timeline was created when the star around which Romulus orbits went supernova in 2387. Kate Cox, Ars Technica, "Star Trek: Picard frontloads fanservice so it can get on with going boldly," 24 Jan. 2020 In The Prime Star Trek Universe The second major event referenced in Picard is the Romulus supernova, which was actually a major plot point in J.J. Abrams' 2009 Star Trek reboot. Leah Marilla Thomas,, "This Is What Happened In The Star Trek Universe Before Picard," 23 Jan. 2020 But then Howard went supernova and there was a strong feeling that this was going to another special game for the 5-foot-11 guard from Chandler, Arizona, who has cemented himself as the greatest scorer in MU history. Ben Steele, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Marquette 101, USC 79: Markus Howard pours in 51 points," 29 Nov. 2019 The last supernova thought to have had such brightness occurred a millennium ago. The Economist, "Stellar evolution Might there soon be a supernova near Earth?," 11 Jan. 2020 During a supernova event, heavy elements shoot from the white dwarf's core at supersonic speeds. Rachel Berkowitz, Scientific American, "Mapping the Remains of Supernovae," 22 Dec. 2019 It’s standard to correct for this motion and to transform supernova data into a stationary reference frame. Quanta Magazine, "No Dark Energy? No Chance, Cosmologists Contend," 17 Dec. 2019 The energetic outburst fused heavy chemical elements that are only created when large stars go supernova. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Ten Smithsonian Artifacts You Can 3-D Print," 27 Nov. 2019 Your supernova fits beautifully madame Except that the fitting procedure turns out to be not so robust after all. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Galactic cosmic ray model works without physics, and that is bad," 26 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'supernova.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of supernova

1932, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for supernova

New Latin

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Time Traveler for supernova

Time Traveler

The first known use of supernova was in 1932

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Statistics for supernova

Last Updated

16 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Supernova.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce supernova (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of supernova

astronomy : the explosion of a star that causes the star to become extremely bright

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More from Merriam-Webster on supernova

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for supernova

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with supernova Encyclopedia article about supernova

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