Hubble Supernova Bubble Resembles Holiday Ornament

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    NASA image release December 14, 2010

    A delicate sphere of gas, photographed by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, floats serenely in the depths of space. The pristine shell, or bubble, is the result of gas that is being shocked by the expanding blast wave from a supernova. Called SNR 0509-67.5 (or SNR 0509 for short), the bubble is the visible remnant of a powerful stellar explosion in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a small galaxy about 160,000 light-years from Earth.

    Ripples in the shell's surface may be caused by either subtle variations in the density of the ambient interstellar gas, or possibly driven from the interior by pieces of the ejecta. The bubble-shaped shroud of gas is 23 light-years across and is expanding at more than 11 million miles per hour (5,000 kilometers per second).

    Astronomers have concluded that the explosion was one of an especially energetic and bright variety of supernovae. Known as Type Ia, such supernova events are thought to result from a white dwarf star in a binary system that robs its partner of material, takes on much more mass than it is able to handle, and eventually explodes.

    Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys observed the supernova remnant on Oct. 28, 2006 with a filter that isolates light from glowing hydrogen seen in the expanding shell. These observations were then combined with visible-light images of the surrounding star field that were imaged with Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 on Nov. 4, 2010.

    With an age of about 400 years as seen from Earth, the supernova might have been visible to southern hemisphere observers around the year 1600, however, there are no known records of a "new star" in the direction of the LMC near that time. A more recent supernova in the LMC, SN 1987A, did catch the eye of Earth viewers and continues to be studied with ground- and space-based telescopes, including Hubble.

    For images and more information about SNR 0509, visit:

    The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., in Washington, D.C.

    Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA) Acknowledgment: J. Hughes (Rutgers University)

    NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission.

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    1D110, emenegritas, topquark22, and 144 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    View 5 more comments

    1. toureasy47201 41 months ago | reply

      The Universe says "Happy Holidays!"

    2. jasbond007 41 months ago | reply

      Actually it looks like an half an empty walnut shell to me!

    3. Ed Gilvarte 41 months ago | reply

      strange dimensions.
      this frontier.
      get thirsty looking across
      23 light years.

    4. ahemahem [deleted] 41 months ago | reply

      red blood cell :P

    5. loutraje 41 months ago | reply

      Fantastic !

    6. Massimo Feliziani 41 months ago | reply

      Incredible perfection.

    7. I is 41 months ago | reply

      fantastic shot, I wonder if the explosion caused a gravity ripple as well, it would also be interesting to see where that ripple is now.

    8. PDQuesnell 41 months ago | reply

      There is more weird stuff out there than we can imagine. I'm glad this part of the government isn't too secretive.

    9. warren_carreon 41 months ago | reply

      I very love this picture wow awesome i wish i am a astronout
      prof. warren c. mancio manila phils.

    10. marciopaulino 40 months ago | reply

      Virtual lens? Imagination !!!
      It's incredible. The discovery of these phenomena would bring great advances in science.

    11. Little Grey 40 months ago | reply

      stunning capture!!!
      Happy New Year,NASA...hope i can visit you one day...

    12. Paula_Summerwind 30 months ago | reply

      Thank you for the great picture. I included it at
      Big Bang and Dark Matter Origin.
      with proper credit to this site.

    13. copyc4t 5 months ago | reply

      Thank you for this photo, I've used it as cover artwork for this track:
      (credits in the track description)

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