facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Astronomers pay close attention to star that may go supernova

Jan. 13, 2014 at 5:21 PM   |   Comments

GREENBELT, Md., Jan. 13 (UPI) -- NASA says an image from the Hubble Space Telescope of a nebula suggests a giant star at its center is destined to explode as a supernova.

At the center of the cosmic object, dubbed SBW1, is a star that was originally 20 times more massive than our sun and is now encased in a swirling ring of purple gas, the remains of a distant time when it cast off its outer layers via violent pulsations and winds.

Twenty-six years ago, NASA scientists say, another star with striking similarities to SBW1 went supernova. Early Hubble images of that star, SN 1987A, show eerie similarities to SBW1; both had rings of the same size and age and traveling at similar speeds; both were located in similar regions rich in ionized hydrogen; and they had the same brightness.

SBW1 is a snapshot of SN1987A's appearance before it exploded, say astronomers who have spent years studying both.

At more than 20,000 light years from Earth, SBW1 will be safe to observe, they said, and if we are lucky it could happen in our lifetimes.

© 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police
2
NASA launches project to get citizens involved in Mars exploration NASA launches project to get citizens involved in Mars exploration
3
Perth's first iPhone buyer immediately drops brand new phone on live TV Perth's first iPhone buyer immediately drops brand new phone on live TV
4
Dogs are the favorite food of leopards in rural India Dogs are the favorite food of leopards in rural India
5
U.S. official warns of the multi-billion dollar cost of climate change U.S. official warns of the multi-billion dollar cost of climate change
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback