Supernova 1987A Ring Blazes Back to Life

[Left]

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 image shows the glowing gas ring around supernova 1987A, as seen on February 2, 2000. The gas, excited by light from the explosion, has been fading for a decade, but parts of it are now being heated by the collision of an invisible shockwave from the supernova explosion.

[Right]

Image processing is used to emphasize four new bright knots of superheated gas discovered in the February 2 Hubble observations. The brightest knot, at the far right, was seen in 1997. Astronomers have been waiting several years to see more of the ring light-up as the supernova shockwave smashes into it. This is the first definitive sign of the full onset of a dramatic and violent collision which will continue over the next few years, rejuvenating SN1987A as a powerful source of X-ray and radio emissions.

Both images were made in visual light. Computer image processing techniques were used to enhance details in the ring.

Credit:

NASA/ESA, Peter Challis and Robert Kirshner (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), Peter Garnavich (University of Notre Dame) and the SINS collaboration

About the Image

NASA press release
NASA caption
Id:opo0011a
Type:Collage
Release date:16 February 2000, 06:00
Size:3001 x 2401 px

About the Object

Name:SN 1987A
Type:• Local Universe : Star : Evolutionary Stage : Supernova
• X - Stars Images/Videos
• X - Miscellaneous Images/Videos
Distance:170000 light years

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BandTelescope
Optical Hubble Space Telescope
WFPC2

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