My advisor was apart of a very cool finding, seeing the shock break out of a core collapse supernova (CC SN). A NASA press release is available, or for the more adventurous the full scientific paper is also available.

Lets briefly explain what a shock break out is. To do this we will follow two parts of a star. When a CC SN finally succumb to gravity and stops burning like a normal star, it pushes a bit of the start out (part A), but most of it free falls and implodes. A small bit of the implosion bounces back (part B) and it is hot and moving very fast. When this shock (part B) catches up to and hits part A, there is a big and sudden flash. This flash is what was observed and is call the shock break out1.

Some day I should go into more details on how a CC SN explodes, but till then enjoy a movie/animation of the data they saw with Kepler.

  1. ‘Cause the shock, brook out. Aren’t scientist creative with their naming?