Supernova: Before and After
The Hubble Space Telescope provided a rare glimpse of an exploding star (supernova) both before (1/21/05) and after (7/11/05) the event. The star was a red supergiant with a mass 7 to 10 times greater than our Sun.
This before-and-after view of a supernova has helped broaden astronomers' understanding about the phenomenon. One thing that is known about supernovae, however, is that a minimal star mass is necessary for them to happen. Our Sun is way too small to go supernova; instead, its eventual destiny (many millions of years from now) is to contract to a cool white dwarf.