Image Credit: Adrian Malec and Marie Martig (Swinburne University)
Why Isn't Close Encounters Considered Steven Spielberg's Ultimate Masterpiece? Because It Kind of Is
Not only that, but it is a rare Type 1A supernova, caused when a white dwarf in a binary system absorbs matter from its partner, reaches a critical mass and explodes. The absolute brightness of this process is known, so these events are important "standard candles" that allow astronomers to measure cosmic distances.