Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2009 January 31
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Simeis 147: Supernova Remnant
Credit & Copyright: J-P Metsävainio (Astro Anarchy)

Explanation: It's easy to get lost following the intricate filaments in this detailed image of faint supernova remnant Simeis 147. Also cataloged as Sh2-240 and seen towards the constellation Taurus, it covers nearly 3 degrees (6 full moons) on the sky. That corresponds to a width of 150 light-years at the stellar debris cloud's estimated distance of 3,000 light-years. The remarkable narrow-band composite image in the Hubble color palette includes emission from hydrogen, sulfur, and oxygen atoms tracing regions of shocked, glowing gas. This supernova remnant has an estimated age of about 40,000 years - meaning light from the massive stellar explosion first reached Earth 40,000 years ago. But this expanding remnant is not the only aftermath. The cosmic catastrophe also left behind a spinning neutron star or pulsar, all that remains of the original star's core.

Tomorrow's picture: purple haze

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