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Bubble of gas floating in space left after massive star explosion 400 years ago

12-15-2010 08:47 BJT

Floating like a gigantic Christmas bauble in space, this is an image of a bubble of gas left over after a huge supernova explosion that took place four centuries ago.

A bauble of gas in our neighburing galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud that was
formed in the aftermath of a supernova explosion that took place four centuries ago

The delicate shell formed as the expanding blast wave and ejected material from a supernova tore through space.

The image, captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, shows the bubble that is the aftermath of the powerful explosion in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a small galaxy about 160 000 light-years from Earth.

The gaseous envelope is called SNR B0509-67.5 - or SNR 0509 for short.

The bubble-shaped shroud of gas is 23 light-years across and is expanding at more than 11 million km/h. It has been pictured on a number of occasions.

Ripples seen in the shell’s surface may be caused either by subtle variations in the density of the ambient interstellar gas, but astronomers are not entirely sure.

With an age of about 400 years, the supernova might have been visible to southern hemisphere observers around the year 1600, although there are no known records of a "new star" in the direction of the galaxy at that time.

The supernova that caused the bubble is known as Type 1a, that occur when a white dwarf star robs its pair of material until it takes on so much it explodes.

Editor:Zheng Limin |Source: CNTV.CN

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