Most stars end their lives in brilliant explosions known as supernovae. These massive bursts briefly outshine all the light from the galaxy wherein they occur. The past 15 years has been a “boom” period for supernovae with vast amounts of time and effort being invested in these objects. Not only are they important for understanding the life of stars, but they can be used as cosmological probes to study what the Universe is made of and how it is growing. This use has shown that the Universe is accelerating in its expansion, the subject of the 2011 Nobel Prize, and this is caused by dark energy which will cause the end of the Universe. Brad will show how our understanding of these objects has been revolutionised using new techniques including the Kepler Space Telescope and what this means for the Universe.
Recommended age: 11 years+
You can also watch a recording of the talk here on our Facebook page (see the 'Astronomy at Home' playlist).