I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Astronomy Tuesday

I don't think I've seen this before, which always makes me very happy. Despite the uncountable number of interesting things to look at in our universe, there are certain objects (looking at you, Horsehead Nebula!) that show up over and over again.

This is a supernova remnant, SN 1006, and is interesting for many reasons apart from its unusual appearance. Astronomers have never found a black hole or neutron star remnant from the original star. And the explosion in 1006 was so bright it could be seen in the daytime on Earth, and was visible on and off for two years, as recorded by observers in China, Japan, the Middle East and Europe. This was less than 50 years before the appearance of a different “guest star”, the supernova that created the Crab Nebula, in 1054. So even taking into account the very short life expectancies in the 11th century, there were probably many people who actually saw two supernovas during their lifetimes.

Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA); Acknowledgement: W. Blair et al. (JHU)

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