NOAO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NOAO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Before & after photographs of supernova 1987A (the bright star on the right of the lower image). The upper photo was taken in 1969 and the lower one on 26 February 1987, two days after the explosion of the supernova. Supernova 1987A was the brightest seen since 1607 AD. It resulted from the explosion of a blue supergiant star in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a nearby satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. The bright wispy nebula at the top of the image is 30 Doradus (the Tarantula Nebula, NGC 2070), an enormous cloud of ionised gas which also lies within the LMC.
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