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.

January 14, 1998
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
 the highest resolution version available.

A Distant Destiny
Credit: P. Garnavich (CfA), High-z Supernova Search Team, NASA

Explanation: Watching galaxies recede, observational astronomers of the 20th century discovered an astounding fact - the Universe is expanding. Will it continue to expand forever? The speed of light is finite so looking into the distant Universe is equivalent to looking at the distant past. These three Hubble Space Telescope images show some of the most distant detectable supernovae - stellar explosions, five to seven billion light-years away, which occurred before the Sun was formed. As recently reported, the apparent brightness and expansion velocities associated with these and other distant supernovae are beginning to suggest that the expansion rate of the Universe has not slowed but increased over time and that the expansion of the Universe is destined to continue.

Tomorrow's picture: The 13th Man

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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.