- from Stars & Nebulae
When a star like our Sun burns out, it doesn’t fade away quietly. Instead, it has a colorful, glorious “last hurrah.” It puffs off glowing clouds of gas, called a planetary nebula.
The outflowing gases, driven by the spinning and wobbling star, sculpt shapes that look like a carnival spin-art game. Stars ten times bigger than our Sun go out with a bang. The star’s nuclear furnace suddenly shuts down, and the star collapses. This collapse is so violent that the star explodes with energy equal to blowing up a hundred thousand trillion trillion of the biggest nuclear bombs all at once! This is called a supernova.