The aftermath of a supernova explosion captured by Hubble

The aftermath of a supernova explosion captured by Hubble

The Hubble Space Telescope has photographed a time-lapse of a supernova in NGC 2525, depicting the epic explosion and aftermath of a white dwarf slurping up material from a companion star and detonating in a thermonuclear blast.

The aftermath of a supernova explosion captured by Hubble

“No Earthly fireworks display can compare to the Hubble Space Telescope’s capture of this supernova in its waning splendour,” stated lead researcher and Nobel Laureate Adam Riess of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)

SN2018gv is the name of the supernova, which was discovered in January 2018. Hubble resumed viewing it the following month, watching as it diminished over time. The data collected by Hubble was used to generate the time-lapse video at the top of this page, which shows how the brightness of the galaxy varied over time.

The supernova is also shown in a Hubble image, where it shines brightly in the left part of the frame. It is located 70 million light-years away, in the constellation of Puppis in the southern hemisphere.

However, recently a Type Ia supernova was discovered which had an unusual brightness curve, increasing in brightness more slowly than others of the same type. The researchers are concerned that supernovae like this unusual one could be contaminating data used to measure the expansion of the universe. To account for this, we need to study more Type Ia supernovas and understand the variations that may be out there.

The way in which the brightness of a supernova fades over time is important as Type Ia supernovas, like this one, are used as mile markers in space. The vast majority of Type Ia supernovas give off light of a fixed brightness which fades in a predictable way, meaning astronomers can observe them and calculate how far away they are. These distance measurements can then be used to calculate the expansion of the universe, which has implications for the study of dark energy.

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