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Runaway Universe
Birth of a Supernova
Type 1a
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Type 1a (1)

Now being fed by its companion star, the white dwarf pulls more and more stellar material into itself. When the mass of the white dwarf reaches 1.4 solar masses (40% more mass than that of our sun), a runaway nuclear chain reaction causes the entire white dwarf to explode. Because Type Ia supernovae always explode at 1.4 solar masses, they all have more or less the same characteristics, including how brightly they shine.

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