The Hubble Space Telescope still has a lot to prove before the next-generation James Webb Space Telescope will replace it in October 2021. Hubble now adds another exciting image to its glorious history of three decades. The Cygnus supernova illuminated the Cosmos in a glorious manner, and its aftermath was spotted by Hubble.
Known as the Cygnus Loop, the dust and gas heated by the supernova’s blast wave are glowing in a beautiful way. The supernova explosion was so bright that humans living 15,000 years ago were able to see it with the naked eye.
2,500 light-years away from Earth
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope snapped an amazing photo of the supernova remnants, and the image was released last month:
Ultraviolet image taken by NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer / NASA/JPL-Caltech
The image unfolds a small section of the explosion’s wave in unprecedented detail. The image was published by the European Space Agency, which also operates the Hubble telescope with NASA.
An official statement from the Hubble astronomers reveals the following about the star that caused the supernova remnant:
The original Cygnus supernova explosion blasted apart a dying star about 20 times more massive than our Sun between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago,
Since then, the remnant has expanded 60 light-years from its center.
The researchers even provide info about how fast the shockwave expands:
The shockwave marks the outer edge of the supernova remnant and continues to expand at around 350 km per second (217.5 miles per second).
A supernova occurs when a star reaches its death. After it consumes its hydrogen that fuses into helium, the star explodes, resulting in a supernova. The blast can be so powerful that it will surpass even an entire galaxy with its brightness.
The James Webb Space Telescope is designed to take a deeper look into space in order to see the earliest stars and galaxies from the Universe. The telescope also aims to look deep into dust clouds to learn more about the formation of stars and planets.