The explosion was of a huge star, 20 times the mass of our Sun, a so-called blue supergiant. Its life ended in spectacular style in a process called a supernova, prosaically called SN 1987A, by astronomers. It was the first supernova to have been visible to the naked eye for 400 years, and was from a star whose details had been captured and recorded by astronomers before it exploded.


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