July 7, 2008

Red Stripe in Space


So what exactly is that red stripe in the picture? The picture is one of the latest from the Hubble Space Telescope, and the main focus of the image is a red trail of gas. This gas is part of the remnant of a supernova that took place in our galaxy, and lies 6,850 light years away from Earth. So what supernova caused this?

SN 1006 took place in 1006 C.E. (A.D.) between April 30 and May 1. It had the brightest
 apparent magnitude (brightness viewed on Earth) of any stellar event known! The event has been described by many civilizations, particularly the Chinese and the Arabic, which provide us with detailed descriptions of the explosion as it appeared on Earth. Today, this red band is a part of what is left from the mighty supernova. The image on the right shows the shell of the supernova remnant and to what part of the shell the above image belongs to (outlined). Click on the image to view a larger size.

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