Difference Between Nova and Supernova

If they ask you what are novae and supernovae? Surely you answer that they are stars, but although they certainly have a relationship with the stars; the truth is that it is about their explosions. They are very interesting phenomena, especially for astronomy. Difference Between Nova and Supernova

Stellar explosions can be of a greater or lesser degree, and depending on this we determine if it is a nova or a supernova.

Here we explain the difference between the two.

NOVA  Difference Between Nova and Supernova

A nova is basically a reaction that occurs between a white dwarf star and a red giant or evolved star. The gas that makes up the giant is attracted by the gravity of the dwarf and after a long period of time, a detonation occurs that gives rise to a thermonuclear explosion.

The glow generated by a nova can be so intense that it can even be seen with the naked eye. In these cases it may happen that the stars are not completely destroyed, but several explosions may occur from the accumulation of new material.


Supernovae are about 100 times brighter than novae. Contrary to novae, when a supernova occurs; stars are usually completely destroyed; because they are not able to withstand gravity.

These explosions can become brighter than the galaxies in which they occur.

Supernovae are very rare, but if they occur they can be seen with the naked eye just like novae.

There are various ways in which they can be produced, the first has to do with a giant star that stops producing hydrogen (which becomes its fuel) and as a result there comes a time when it cannot develop thermonuclear reactions and then explodes. The other way has to do with a white dwarf that takes mass from its companion, getting bigger and bigger; until it finally explodes.

Note: the process of formation of a nova and a supernova can be quite similar.

Key differences between nova and supernova

  • Supernovae are much larger and more intense explosions than novae.
  • Supernovae can give rise to black holes, but novae cannot.

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