The mere idea of an exploding star is all at once thrilling, fascinating, and slightly terrifying. As it turns out, it's also beautiful to watch.
In this animation based on the photometric observations made by NASA's Kepler space telescope, we can see the flash of an exploding star's shockwave. Astronomers call it the "shock breakout," and it occurs when the star's internal furnace can't sustain nuclear fusion. The star then collapses under gravity, causing this massive shockwave to rush upward. After about 20 minutes, the shockwave reaches the surface and the star explodes.
We know: It's a lot to imagine. Luckily, this time lapse animation will help you visualize the entire breathtaking event.