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Supernova 1987A after four years

Date created: 1991-01-29

Tags: supernova, SN1987A

The elongated red 'star' marks the site of of supernova 1987A in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). The two blue stars that bracket the glowing ember are almost certainly in the LMC as well, but not necessarily near the supernova. They initially confused the issue of which star had exploded. The red image is the expanding remnant of a massive star and can be seen to be slightly elongated in this picture, made from three, 60-second exposures. The elongation is in the same direction as the well-known Hubble Space Telescope picture of the ellipse around the supernova and both represent the expanding shock wave from the supernova interacting with material that was ejected from the star before it exploded.

Photograph made from plates taken in December 1990.

Credit: David Malin

© Australian Astronomical Observatory