sn-1987a

(NASA)  Shocked by Supernova 1987A
Image Credit: Hubble Space Telescope, NASA, ESA; Video compilation: Mark McDonald

Twenty five years ago, the brightest supernova of modern times was sighted. Over time, astronomers have watched and waited for the expanding debris from this tremendous stellar explosion to crash into previously expelled material. A clear result of such a collision is demonstrated in the above time lapse video of images recorded by the Hubble Space Telescope between 1994 and 2009. The movie depicts the collision of an outward moving blast wave with the pre-existing, light-year wide ring. The collision occurred at speeds near 60 million kilometers per hour and shock-heats the ring material causing it to glow. Astronomers continue to study the collision as it illuminates the interesting past of SN 1987A, and provides clues to the origin of the mysterious rings.

This is one of the largest and most prolific star-forming regions near our Milky Way. Located about 160,000 light years away in the neighboring Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy, the Tarantula nebula is sculpted by searing radiation and strong winds that comes from the massive stars at its center. If fact, it is estimated that at least 40 of these huge stars have gone supernova within the last 10,000 years including the most recent one, SN 1987a.

(Composite Image from Multiple Data Sources. Hubble Space Telescope, ESO, Amateur Data. Image Assembly and Processing : Robert Gendler and Roberto Colombari)

The 16th century Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan and his crew had plenty of time to study the southern sky during the first circumnavigation of planet Earth. As a result, two fuzzy cloud-like objects easily visible to southern hemisphere skygazers are known as the Clouds of Magellan, now understood to be satellite galaxies of our much larger, spiral Milky Way galaxy. About 160,000 light-years distant in the constellation Dorado, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) is seen here in a remarkably deep, colorful, image. Spanning about 15,000 light-years or so, it is the most massive of the Milky Way's satellite galaxies and is the home of theclosest supernova in modern times, SN 1987A. The prominent patch below center is 30 Doradus, also known as the magnificentTarantula Nebula, is a giant star-forming region about 1,000 light-years across.

Object Names: Large Magelanic Cloud

Image Type: Astronomical

Credit & Copyright: Carlos Fairban

Time And Space

The Tarantula Nebula : The Tarantula Nebula is more than a thousand light-years in diameter, a giant star forming region within nearby satellite galaxy the Large Magellanic Cloud, about 180 thousand light-years away. The largest, most violent star forming region known in the whole Local Group of galaxies, the cosmic arachnid sprawls across this spectacular composite view constructed with space- and ground-based image data. Within the Tarantula , intense radiation, stellar winds and supernova shocks from the central young cluster of massive stars, cataloged as R136, energize the nebular glow and shape the spidery filaments. Around the Tarantula are other star forming regions with young star clusters, filaments, and blown-out bubble-shaped clouds In fact, the frame includes the site of the closest supernova in modern times, SN 1987A, at the lower right. The rich field of view spans about 1 degree or 2 full moons, in the southern constellation Dorado. But were the Tarantula Nebula closer, say 1,500 light-years distant like the local star forming Orion Nebula, it would take up half the sky. via NASA

js

The Large Cloud of Magellan : The 16th century Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan and his crew had plenty of time to study the southern sky during the first circumnavigation of planet Earth. As a result, two fuzzy cloud-like objects easily visible to southern hemisphere skygazers are known as the Clouds of Magellan, now understood to be satellite galaxies of our much larger, spiral Milky Way galaxy. About 160,000 light-years distant in the constellation Dorado, the Large Magellanic Cloud is seen here in a remarkably deep, colorful, image. Spanning about 15,000 light-years or so, it is the most massive of the Milky Ways satellite galaxies and is the home of the closest supernova in modern times, SN 1987A. The prominent patch below center is 30 Doradus, also known as the magnificent Tarantula Nebula, is a giant star-forming region about 1,000 light-years across. via NASA

js
3

SN 1987A was a supernova in the outskirts of the Tarantula Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a nearby dwarf galaxy. As it was the first supernova discovered in 1987, it was labeled “1987A”. Its brightness peaked in May with an apparent magnitude of about 3 and slowly declined in the following months. It was the first opportunity for modern astronomers to see a supernova up close and observations have provided much insight into core-collapse supernovae.


This Tumblr’s Hubble week ends with the remnant of Supernova 1987A, photographed from 1994 to 2008 (at 656 or 658nm wavelengths).  In 2001, the ejecta from the supernova started colliding with the clumps of matter forming the smallest ring around the old star, causing the ring to get much brighter.  It’s interesting to watch it happen: some of those clumps must have been a little bit closer to the star than others, since the ring doesn’t all “light up” at once.

[Frames: Proposal ID 5203, 3 Feb 1994; Proposal ID 5753, 24 Sep 1994; Proposal ID 6020, 6 Feb 1996; Proposal ID 6437, 10 Jul 1997; Proposal ID 7434, 8 Jan 1999; Proposal ID 8243, 2 Feb 2000; Proposal ID 8648, 23 Mar 2001; Proposal ID 9114, 7 Dec 2001; Proposal ID 9114, 10 May 2002; Proposal ID 9428, 5 Jan 2003; Proposal ID 9992, 28 Nov 2003; Proposal ID 10263, 15 Dec 2004; Proposal ID 10549, 19 Nov 2005; Proposal ID 10867, 9 Dec 2006; Proposal ID 11181, 19 Feb 2008.]

SN 1987A

In mid-September, NuSTAR obtained deep observations of SN 1987A one of the brightest stellar explosions since Galileo first pointed a telescope into the night sky more than 400 years ago. The supernova was first seen in February 1987, and has been extensively studied ever since. Pictured here is an image obtained with the High Resoluton Channel of the Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys. NuSTAR, detecting high-energy X-rays emitted by the explosion remnants, has much lower resolution than Hubble, but provides important and unique additional information.

The supernova belongs to the Large Magellanic Cloud, a dwarf companion galaxy to our own Milky Way Galaxy, only 168,000 light-years away. SN 1987A is an example of a “core collapse” supernova, meaning it resulted from the death throes of a young, isolated, extremely massive star. With NuSTAR, we hope to detect 44-Ti emission from the SN 1987A explosion remnant, which is an important diagnostic of the explosion physics.

Image credit: NASA/Hubble

SN 1987a in the Large Magellanic Cloud

Glittering stars and wisps of gas create a breathtaking backdrop for the self-destruction of a massive star, called supernova 1987A, in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a nearby galaxy. Astronomers in the Southern hemisphere witnessed the brilliant explosion of this star on Feb. 23, 1987. Shown in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image, the supernova remnant, surrounded by inner and outer rings of material, is set in a forest of ethereal, diffuse clouds of gas.

Image credit: Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI/NASA/ESA

Shocked by Supernova 1987A 

Twenty five years ago, the brightest supernova of modern times was sighted. Over time, astronomers have watched and waited for the expanding debris from this tremendous stellar explosion to crash intopreviously expelled material. A clear result of such a collision is demonstrated in the above time lapse video of images recorded by the Hubble Space Telescope between 1994 and 2009. The movie depicts the collision of an outward moving blast wave with the pre-existing, light-year wide ring. The collision occurred at speeds near 60 million kilometers per hour and shock-heats the ring material causing it to glow. Astronomers continue to study the collision as it illuminates the interesting past of SN 1987A, and provides clues to the origin of the mysterious rings.