A supernova shines about as brightly as all of the
stars in a galaxy combined. Novas are not quite as
bright, but they are much brighter than a normal
star. We can see them because we see the light
that they emit - just as we can see ordinary
stars, even though none of our spacecraft have
ever gone to them either. We can see (super)novas
from farther away because they're just really bright.
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