Hubble captures dramatic image of gas left over from supernova

May 3, 2013 at 6:47 PM
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GREENBELT, Md., May 3 (UPI) -- NASA says the Hubble telescope has captured a sharp image of the wispy red remains of a star similar to our sun that exploded as a supernova 150,000 years ago.

Reduced to just a web-like gaseous shell, the object known as SNR B0519-69.0 -- or SNR 0519 for short -- exploded about 150,000 years ago but the first light from the explosion only reached Earth about 600 years ago, the space agency said.

Thin, blood-red shells of gas in the image released by NASA this week are the only remnants of the unstable progenitor star.

There are several types of supernovae, but SNR 0519 is known to have been a white dwarf star -- a sun-like star in the final stages of its life, astronomers said.

The remnants of SNR 0519 are located more than 150,000 light-years from Earth in the southern constellation of Dorado, which also contains most of our neighboring galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud, which orbits the Milky Way galaxy as a satellite and is the fourth-largest in our local group of galaxies, they said.

Hubble's image was taken 600 years after the supernova would have been first visible from Earth; the actual explosion is now 150,600 years in the past.

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