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The Hubble Space Telescope Observes Spectacular Supernova Time-Lapse

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Pictured here, in an image released on October 1, 2020, is the region surrounding NGC 2525. Located nearly 70 million light-years from Earth, this galaxy is part of Puppis’ constellation in the southern hemisphere. Hubble has captured a series of images of NGC2525 as part of one of its major investigations; measuring the expansion rate of the Universe, which can help answer fundamental questions about our Universe’s very nature. ESA/Hubble has now published a unique time-lapse of this galaxy, and it’s fading supernova. This view was created from images forming part of the Digitized Sky Survey 2. NASA/ESA/UPI

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NASA’s Hubble Telescope saw a gigantic, exploding star disappear into the void

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Hubble observed a supernova on the outer edge of spiral galaxy NGC 2525. 


NASA, ESA, and A. Riess (STScI/JHU) and the SH0ES team Acknowledgment: M. Zamani (ESA/Hubble)

Titanic, runaway thermonuclear explosion. A disappearing act. Nature’s atomic bomb. NASA sure knows how to describe a supernova, the final moments of a star’s existence.

Seventy-million light-years away in the scenic spiral galaxy NGC 2525, a white dwarf exploded and the Hubble Space Telescope witnessed its last days. NASA and the European Space Agency, which jointly run Hubble, released a rare time-lapse of the supernova’s fading brightness. 

The space telescope first started watching the supernova, named SN 2018gv, in February 2018. The time-lapse covers almost a year of Hubble observations.

The supernova initially outshone the other stars in its host galaxy. “When a star unleashes as much energy in a matter of days as our sun does in several billion years, you know it’s not going to remain visible for long,” NASA said in a statement on Thursday.

Hubble observed the supernova while scientists were working to better understand the expansion rate of the universe. “More than just providing celestial fireworks, supernovae can be used as milepost markers to measure distances to galaxies,” NASA said. “This yardstick is needed to calculate how quickly galaxies appear to be flying apart from one another, which in turn provides an age estimate for the universe.”

While supernovae are relatively common across the span of the universe, Hubble’s time-lapse gives us a rare peek at the dramatic process along with a poignant reminder that even stars aren’t permanent.

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Very Large Telescope spots galaxies trapped in the web of a supermassive black hole

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ESO telescope spots galaxies trapped in the web of a supermassive black hole
With the help of ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), astronomers have found six galaxies lying around a supermassive black hole, the first time such a close grouping has been seen within the first billion years of the Universe. This artist’s impression shows the central black hole and the galaxies trapped in its gas web. The black hole, which together with the disc around it is known as quasar SDSS J103027.09+052455.0, shines brightly as it engulfs matter around it. Credit: ESO/L. Calçada

With the help of ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), astronomers have found six galaxies lying around a supermassive black hole when the Universe was less than a billion years old. This is the first time such a close grouping has been seen so soon after the Big Bang and the finding helps us better understand how supermassive black holes, one of which exists at the centre of our Milky Way, formed and grew to their enormous sizes so quickly. It supports the theory that black holes can grow rapidly within large, web-like structures which contain plenty of gas to fuel them.


“This research was mainly driven by the desire to understand some of the most challenging astronomical objects—supermassive black holes in the early Universe. These are extreme systems and to date we have had no good explanation for their existence,” said Marco Mignoli, an astronomer at the National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF) in Bologna, Italy, and lead author of the new research published today in Astronomy & Astrophysics.

The new observations with ESO’s VLT revealed several galaxies surrounding a supermassive black hole, all lying in a cosmic “spider’s web” of gas extending to over 300 times the size of the Milky Way. “The cosmic web filaments are like spider’s web threads,” explains Mignoli. “The galaxies stand and grow

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Stunning images from Hubble, Chandra, and more reveal value of space telescope teamwork

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What do you get when you put a space telescope to work with another space telescope or two? Amazing compilation images of our universe.

NASA recently highlighted some collaborations between its Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes, particularly the Hubble Space Telescope, showing what sorts of images can be produced when you look at the same object in different wavelengths of light.

Gallery: Amazing nebula photos from Chandra & Hubble

M82

(Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC; Optical: NASA/STScI)

The galaxy M82 can be seen edge-on from Earth, allowing scientists a great perspective whenever star formation occurs, since there is little to block our view. Chandra observations, visible in blue and pink, show bursts of high temperatures created when gas is heated by supernova explosions. The Hubble Space Telescope’s optical images (shown in red and orange) reveal the galaxy’s shape.

Abell 2744

(Image credit: NASA/CXC; Optical: NASA/STScI)

The galaxy cluster Abell 2744 includes a lot of superheated gas that glows brightly in X-rays. The X-rays are seen in Chandra data as blue clouds, juxtaposed with the optical light detected by Hubble and shown in red, green and blue. Galaxy clusters are enormous collections of galaxies held together by gravity, and these behemoths teach astronomers about the structure of the universe.

Supernova 1987A (SN 1987A)

(Image credit: Radio: ALMA/ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/P. Cigan/R. Indebetouw/NRAO/AUI/NSF/B. Saxton; X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/PSU/K. Frank et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI)

A supernova explosion that occurred on Feb. 24, 1987, is still producing valuable scientific data a generation later. Telescopes regularly revisit Supernova 1987A to see how its gas and dust morph over the years. Chandra data (in blue) show the shockwave of the supernova hitting a shell roughly four light-years in diameter of material surrounding the exploded star. Hubble’s view also shows some of the interaction in optical wavelengths, shown here in