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

And, after a supernova explosion has blown off much of the stellar material, what remains often becomes a neutron star or a black hole. The Economist, "Gravitational astronomy proves its maturity," 22 Aug. 2019 An international team of astronomers may have discovered the biggest and brightest supernova ever. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "This sideways galaxy looks just like a lightsaber," 9 Aug. 2019 Cosmic Fuzziness Why should far-flung measurements of galaxies and supernovae have any bearing on the mass of the lightest matter particle in the universe? Clara Moskowitz, Scientific American, "Mysterious Neutrinos Get New Mass Estimate," 26 Aug. 2019 For me, their greatness is the draw, much in the way Tiger Woods remains golf’s singular supernova. Tara Sullivan,, "Here’s hoping tennis superstars continue their dominance at US Open," 25 Aug. 2019 Cosmic dust found in Antarctic snow was likely birthed in a distant supernova millions of years ago. NBC News, "Racism in America, Wall Street woes, and the Jeffrey Epstein latest: The Morning Rundown," 15 Aug. 2019 But thanks to the supernova popularity of the song by the same name from rapper Lil Nas X, the signs that identify this quaint street have become a target for thieves. Raisa Bruner, Time, "'Old Town Road' Signs Keep Getting Stolen. Here's How This Quaint College Town Is Dealing With the Thefts.," 15 Aug. 2019 Glasnost was encouraging Soviet researchers to collaborate with Western colleagues, and studies of SN 1987A, the nearest supernova in modern times, had demonstrated the power of x-rays for tracing such violent events. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, "Update: Telescope designed to study mysterious dark energy keeps Russia’s space science hopes alive," 15 July 2019 Presumably, that understanding extends to Kerr, who worked with Curry to unlock his scoring potential and the Warriors’ supernova offense as a whole before Durant arrived. Michael Nowels, The Mercury News, "Durant, Kerr ‘did not have the greatest relationship’, Stephen A. Smith says," 3 July 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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Statistics for supernova

Last Updated

14 Sep 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

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

What made you want to look up supernova? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


readily or continually undergoing change

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