- On February 23, 1987, astronomers noticed a new source of light in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a small satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. Soon, scientists realized that this new beacon was, in fact, a spectacular explosion caused by the death of a massive star. It was a supernova, and became known as Supernova 1987A, or SN 1987A for short. The model depicts SN 1987A at its current observed age of 30 years, based on 3D simulations and constrained by X-ray observations from the Chandra X-ray Observatory. The blast wave from the supernova has crashed into a pre-existing ring of gas, throwing blobs of this gas upwards and downwards.
- Description Credit: Credit: Salvatore Orlando (INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo) & NASA/CXC/SAO/A.Jubett et al.
- Data Source
- Smithsonian Institution, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
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