NASA's Hubble space telescope discovers festive bauble

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Washington, Dec 15 (ANI): NASA's Hubble space telescope has photographed what looks like a festive bauble of gas in our neighboring galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud.

Formed in the aftermath of a supernova explosion that took place four centuries ago, this sphere of gas has been snapped in a series of observations made between 2006 and 2010.

The delicate shell appears to float serenely in the depths of space, but this apparent calm hides an inner turmoil.

Named SNR B0509-67.5 (or SNR 0509 for short), the bubble is the visible remnant of a powerful stellar explosion in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) about 160,000 light-years from Earth.

Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys observed the supernova remnant on 28 October 2006 with a filter that isolates light from the glowing hydrogen seen in the expanding shell. These observations were then combined with visible-light images of the surrounding star field that were imaged with Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 on 4 November 2010.

With an age of about 400 years, the supernova might have been visible to southern hemisphere observers around the year 1600, although there are no known records of a 'new star' in the direction of the LMC near that time.

A much more recent supernova in the LMC, SN 1987A, didcatch the eye of Earth viewers and continues to be studied with ground- and space-based telescopes, including Hubble. (ANI)

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