The Earth and BeyondWelcome to The Earth and Beyond Hello, my name is Tim O'Brien. I'm an astronomer working at The University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank Observatory. As an astronomer my job is to try and understand how the universe works and my main interest is why some stars explode - more about this later! Exploding stars You may know the names of some patterns of stars (called constellations) such as Orion or the Great Bear. This picture shows Orion the Hunter and Taurus the Bull with the position of an exploded star known as the Crab Nebula. We're all made of stars Understanding why stars explode is very important because most of the chemical elements (carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and so on) were made inside stars and are spread out into space when they explode. Billions of years ago the Sun, Earth and the other planets formed out of the leftovers from one of these gigantic explosions. Learn about astronomy Exploding stars is just one example of why astronomy is important and fun.