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.

October 23, 1997
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Echos of Supernova 1987A
Credit: Anglo-Australian Telescope photograph by David Malin
Copyright: Anglo-Australian Telescope Board

Explanation: Can you find Supernova 1987a? It's not hard - it occurred in the center of the bulls-eye pattern. Although this stellar detonation was seen more than a decade ago, light from it continues to bounce off nearby interstellar dust and be reflected to us. These two rings are thus echoes of the powerful supernova. As time goes on, these echoes appear to expand outward from the center. The above image was created by subtracting a picture taken before 1987, from a picture taken after.

Tomorrow's picture: Moving Echoes Around SN 1987A

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
&: Michigan Tech. U.