Image of Supernova Captured By Hubble Space Telescope

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online

NASA recently released this Hubble Space Telescope image of a supernova that the telescope took while studying a spiral galaxy in the constellation Virgo back in 2005.

The supernova, dubbed SN 2004dg, was located in the galaxy NGC 5806, which had been selected as part of a study into supernovae because the Hubble archive already contained high resolution images of the galaxy that had been taken prior to the 2004 explosion of the supernova. The galaxy and the supernova are located approximately 80 million light years from Earth, officials with the US space agency explained.

“The afterglow from this outburst of light, caused by a giant star exploding at the end of its life, can be seen as a faint yellowish dot near the bottom of the galaxy,” they said on Friday.

“Since supernovae are both relatively rare, and impossible to predict with any accuracy, the existence of such before-and-after images is precious for astronomers who study these violent events,” the NASA officials added in the statement, which was posted to Hubble’s official website. “Aside from the supernova, NGC 5806 is a relatively unremarkable galaxy: it is neither particularly large or small, nor especially close or distant.”

The densest part in the center of the galaxy’s spiral arms, known as the bulge, is what is known as a disk-type bulge, meaning that the spiral structure extends to the center of the galaxy instead of there being a large, elliptical bulge of stars present, according to NASA officials.

Galaxy NGC 5806 also contains a supermassive black hole or active galaxy nucleus that is drawing in sizable amounts of matter from its surroundings, causing that matter to heat up and emit radiation, they added.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a joint NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) project that travels around our planet at over 17,000 miles per hour. In approximately two decades of service, the telescope has made more than 930,000 observations and taken nearly 600,000 pictures of about 30,000 different celestial objects, according to the mission’s homepage. To date it has made over 110,000 trips around the Earth, and data collected during its 20-plus years has been used in more than 8,500 published scientific papers.