NASA Captures the Crazy Shockwave of an Exploding Star

The first time we’ve ever seen it.

When a star goes supernova, it emits what’s known as as a “shock breakout,” a brilliant flash of energy. Though it is 130,000,000 times brighter than the sun, this event takes incredible patience and diligence to capture, because shock breakouts only last about 20 minutes.

An international team of astronomers analyzed light from 500 distant galaxies and 50 trillion stars captured by NASA’s Kepler space telescope and caught one such flash of energy from the explosive death of KSN 2011d, a star 500 times the size of our sun and around 1.2 billion light years away. This NASA animation is based on their models.