Behold: the 2,000 year-old blast radius of N63A – a supernova remnant, still expanding. To wit:

As little as 2,000 years ago, light from a massive stellar explosion in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) first reached planet Earth. The LMC is a close galactic neighbour of our Milky Way Galaxy and the rampaging explosion front is now seen moving out – destroying or displacing ambient gas clouds while leaving behind relatively dense knots of gas and dust. What remains is one of the largest supernova remnants in the LMC: N63A. Many of the surviving dense knots have been themselves compressed and may further contract to form new stars. Some of the resulting stars may then explode in a supernova, continuing the cycle. Featured here is a combined image of N63A in the X-ray from the Chandra Space Telescope and in visible light by Hubble. The prominent knot of gas and dust on the upper right — informally dubbed the Firefox — is very bright in visible light, while the larger supernova remnant shines most brightly in X-rays. N63A spans over 25 light years and lies about 150,000 light years away toward the southern constellation of Dorado

(Image  NASA, ESA, Hubble, Chandra; Judy Schmidt)


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4 thoughts on “Boom!

  1. bisted

    …never waste a good supernova…if you’d been round 2000 years ago you could have started your own superstition based on a firedrake…

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