Star’s violent beautiful death

Tattered remains of a star that blew itself to pieces were revealed in a dramatic new photo from the Hubble space Telescope released today.

Supernova remnant

Nasa’s orbiting observatory pictured in astonishing detail the aftermath of a violent supernova explosion that happened 340 years ago.

A mosaic built from 18 separate images shows the supernova’s ejected shell as a broken ring of wispy gas and debris moving at speeds of up to 30 million mph. Huge swirls glow with the heat from the stellar suicide’s shockwave.

The supernova, in the northern constellation of Cassiopeia, is called Cas A. Astronomers believe the blast happened when the star, which lies ten thousand light-years from the Earth, collapsed under the weight of its own gravity.

Debris ejected in the supernova blast is moving so fast that it could get from the Earth to the Moon in just 30 seconds. The suprnova images were taken with Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys.

Paul Sutherland

Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.
Paul Sutherland

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Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.

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