"It's like packing in dirt," Dr Tucker said. "You keep pressing it till it's so dense you can't get it in anymore, and that's when you create a neutron star.
"But you reach a limit when you can't pack it in anymore, and that force pushing in bounces back and it triggers a shockwave to go through the star, causing the star to actually blow up."
That's the moment the supernova starts creating the heavier elements on the periodic table, such as gold, silver and platinum.
"It's that singular moment when we can see the periodic table happening, when we can see the process of creating these new elements, and also see a switch from fission to fusion all at the same time because of this residual shockwave going through this star," Dr Tucker said.
The shockwave that initiated the core collapse or type IIp supernova was seen as a quick brightening - or flash. The supernova itself also creates a brightening, but this fades over a longer period of time.
Because the shockwave doesn't last very long - typically hours to days - it's been a challenge to catch one.