The images at the top of this graphic represent two popular models describing how stars blast apart. The models point to different triggers of the explosion. Jet-driven models are illustrated with an artist's concept shown at left.
A massive star (left), which has created elements as heavy as iron in its interior, blows up in a tremendous explosion (middle), scattering its outer layers in a structure called a supernova remnant (right).
When astronomers first looked at images of a supernova remnant called Cassiopeia A, captured by NASA's NuSTAR. The mystery of Cassiopeia A (Cas A), a massive star that exploded in a supernova more than 11,000 years ago continues to confound scientists.
This is the first map of radioactivity in a supernova remnant, the blown-out bits and pieces of a massive star that exploded. The blue color shows radioactive material mapped in high-energy X-rays using NASA's NuSTAR.
Taken Under the 'Wing' of the Small Magellanic Cloud
The tip of the 'wing' of the Small Magellanic Cloud galaxy is dazzling in this new view from NASA's Great Observatories. The SMC, is a small galaxy about 200,000 light-years way that orbits our own Milky Way spiral galaxy.
About 2,400 massive stars in the center of 30 Doradus, the Tarantula Nebula, produce intense radiation and powerful winds as they blow off material seen as infrared emission from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and X-rays from Chandra X-ray Observatory.
This composite image of the star cluster NGC 28 contains X-ray data from Chandra, in purple, with infrared observations from Spitzer, in red, green, blue. NGC 281 is known informally as the 'Pacman Nebula' because of its appearance in optical images.
A composite image from NASA's Chandra and Spitzer space telescopes shows the dusty remains of a collapsed star, a supernova remnant called G54.1+0.3. The white source at the center is a dead star called a pulsar.
This composite image, combining data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and Spitzer Space Telescope shows the star-forming cloud Cepheus B, located in our Milky Way galaxy about 2,400 light years from Earth
For the first time, a multiwavelength three-dimensional reconstruction of a supernova remnant has been created. This visualization of Cassiopeia A, or Cas A, the result of an explosion approximately 330 years ago, uses data from several NASA telescopes.
This composite image shows the Coronet in X-rays from Chandra and infrared from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope (orange, green, and cyan). The Spitzer data show young stars plus diffuse emission from dust.
NASA's Spitzer, Hubble and Chandra space observatories teamed up to create this multi-wavelength, false-colored view of the M82 galaxy. The lively
portrait celebrates Hubble's 'sweet sixteen' birthday.
This false-color image from three of NASA's Great Observatories provides one example of a star that died in a fiery supernova blast. Called Cassiopeia A, this supernova remnant is located 10,000 light-years away in the constellation Cassiopeia.
NASA's three Great Observatories -- the Hubble Space Telescope, the SpitzerSpace Telescope, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory -- joined forces to probe theexpanding remains of a supernova, called Kepler's supernova remnant.