Recent HST obervations show a brightening knot on the upper righthand corner of this image. This is the site of the collision between the outward moving blast wave and the innermost circumstellar ring.
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy of Hubble Space Telescope
Titanic Stellar Explosion
News story originally written on March 4, 1998
Shock waves from supernova explosion collide with gas ring!!
The supernova explosion was first observed on February 23, 1987. Although the star actually blew up long ago, the light from the explosion had just arrived at Earth.
As the explosion hits the ring very fast and hard, the ring lights up. The lit ring will also light up the space around it, showing objects that were too dark to see before.
Astronomers hope to answer questions about the supernova's past, such as what kind of star caused the explosion.
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