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originally posted by: Arbitrageur
As Eros and Box of Rain said, what reaches us before the light in a supernova are the neutrinos, not because they travel faster than light, but because when the core collapses, neutrinos can pass right through the outer layers of the collapsing star while the photons can't, so it takes the photons (light) somewhat longer to leave the supernova.
originally posted by: Blue Shift
Good clarification. So the answer is that we'll get a little bit of a warning, but maybe not enough to run outside and see the thing blow up like a firework. Which I suppose it's not going to do anyway because it will still take a little time for the explosion / expansion to get big enough to even see. So we'll get an announcement from astronomers, but then the actual explosion will slowly grow and be seen for years and years. Not like we're going to miss it, or anything.
In the latest in a series of supernova firsts, scientists report in Science that they pinpointed a star that flared in the ultraviolet portion of the spectrum for several hours before blowing itself apart in a supernova. The researchers believe the finding represents the earliest visible sign of an imminent supernova—a surge in temperature as the expanding internal shock wave strains to break free of the star but has yet to shred it apart.