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

Then, directly above us, a cannon boomed, followed by an incandescent supernova of color and light., "Feedback: After the Tonys, readers want to know — are awards shows broken?," 15 June 2019 For massive stars, that's usually a supernova that then creates a black hole or a pulsar. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Think They've Found a Dead Planetary Core Orbiting a Dead Star," 4 Apr. 2019 Correction posted March 18, 2012 An earlier version mischaracterized the data gleaned from a 1987 supernova. The Christian Science Monitor, "Corrections," 4 Mar. 2019 The magnificent Crab Nebula consists of the glowing ashes of a supernova that Chinese astronomers noted in 1054. Kyle Peterson, WSJ, "An Astronomer’s View of the Christmas Sky," 21 Dec. 2018 Game 2 would've been a 48-minute blowout had Cleveland not stubbornly hung around and chipped away at leads until Steph Curry went supernova in the fourth quarter. Andrew Sharp,, "The Rodney Hood Game and The Strange Joys of the Doomed Cavs," 7 June 2018 Yet the last supernova observed in our galaxy was in 1604 — more than four centuries ago. Yvette Cendes, Discover Magazine, "Searching For Tonight’s Supernova," 17 Aug. 2018 This suggests that this extrasolar system formed from a cloud of material that was enriched by a supernova, or the death of a giant star called an asymptotic giant branch (AGB) star, the researchers said. Samantha Mathewson,, "Weird Stuff Swirls in Air of Huge, Puffy Alien Planet," 26 June 2018 With a global tour starting in the New Year as well, a crucial precursor entails fitting in some beauty rest—not to mention giving one's skin the requisite pop supernova glow. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Ariana Grande Drops Her New “Imagine” Single While Gift Wrapping—And Face Masking—On Instagram," 14 Dec. 2018

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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Statistics for supernova

Last Updated

22 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for supernova

The first known use of supernova was in 1932

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with supernova

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for supernova Encyclopedia article about supernova

Comments on supernova

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showing courage and determination

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