There are a lot of ways for things to explode.
For things on Earth, there needs to be a sharp
difference in the temperature and pressure inside
of the exploding thing relative to outside. This
difference creates a shockwave - a sonic pulse
that expands at the speed of sound (faster than
sound in the space that it's moving into, because
colder temperatures create slower sound speeds).
Explosions in space are often driven by
light, not pressure, however. There needs to
be a sudden release of energy that comes out in
the form of (incredibly bright) light.
Nuclear explosions on Earth are somewhere
in-between: there is a powerful flash that
releases much of the energy of the explosion, as
well as a shockwave that physically blows things
apart. Explosions from meteor impacts are similar.
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