Supernova explosion lit up the sky 1,700 years ago. Today’s Image of the Day from the European Space Agency features the remains of a supernova that exploded in the Small Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of our Milky Way that is located about 200,000 light-years away.
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope captured this striking photograph of the supernova remnant, named E0102. Researchers are using this and other observations by Hubble of E0102 to gain a better understanding of the supernova event.
For example, the scientists set out to accurately estimate the timing of the blast. The new estimates indicate that light from the blast arrived at Earth 1,700 years ago, during the decline of the Roman Empire. Supernova explosion lit up the sky 1,700 years ago
According to the ESA, the gaseous knots in this supernova remnant are moving at different speeds and directions from the explosion, with those moving toward Earth appearing blue and the ones moving away appearing red.
The image shows the streams of gas speeding away from the explosion site at an average speed of 3.2 million kilometers per hour. If humans could travel at this rate of speed, we could travel to the Moon and back in 15 minutes.
Image Credit: ESA