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Rings around supernova remnant SN 1987a

Rings around supernova remnant SN 1987a

R732/0035

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Credit

NASA / ESA / STSCI / C. BURROWS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / ESA / STSCI / C. BURROWS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Unusual ring structure around SN1987A. False- colour optical image of the supernova remnant (SNR) of SN1987A, made by the Hubble Space Telescope. The SNR is in the centre of the frame, surrounded by a normal bright ring of ejected material. The strange larger rings are thought to lie in front of and behind the plane of the smaller ring. It is possible that these larger rings lie on an 'hour-glass' shaped bubble of gas being blown away from the SNR (seen in other stars), but that the gas is being illuminated by a second source of radiation, perhaps a previously unknown binary companion to the SNR.

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