Encyclopedia of Natural Hazards

2013 Edition
| Editors: Peter T. Bobrowsky

Supernova

  • Lev I. DormanEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4399-4_338

Synonyms

Stellar explosion

Definition

A supernova is a stellar explosion that is extremely luminous and may cause a burst of radiation that often briefly outshines as a whole galaxy, before fading from view over several weeks or months. The explosion ejects the main part of star’s material at a velocity of up to 30,000 km/s driving a shock wave into the surrounding interstellar medium. This shock wave sweeps up an expanding shell of gas and dust called a supernova remnant and generates huge fluxes of cosmic rays (CR) with energy up to about several millions GeV (1 GeV = 109 eV).

Supernovae as main source of cosmic rays in galaxy and estimation of their average frequency

From the energetic balance of CR in the Galaxy (taking into account the energy density of CR at about 1 eV/cm3, and an average life of CR in the Galaxy about 30 million years), it follows that the full power for CR production is about 3 × 1027 MW. Now, it is commonly accepted that only supernovae explosions may supply...

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.TECHNION and Israel Space AgencyTel Aviv UniversityQazrinIsrael
  2. 2.Cosmic Ray Department of N.V. Pushkov IZMIRANRussian Academy of SciencesTroitskRussia