This frame from an animation shows a gigantic star exploding in a "core collapse" supernova. As atoms fuse inside the star, eventually the star can't support its own weight anymore. Gravity makes the star collapse on itself. Core collapse supernovae are called type Ib, Ic, or II depending on the chemical elements present.
Stellar explosions forge and distribute materials that make up the world in which we live, and also hold clues to how fast the universe is expanding. By understanding supernovae, scientists can unlock mysteries that are key to what we are made of and the fate of our universe. But to get the full picture, scientists must observe supernovae from a variety of perspectives, especially in the first moments of the explosion. That's really difficult -- there's no telling when or where a supernova might happen next.
An animation is available at https://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA22352