Hubble Space Telescope Spots Explosive Galaxy

first_img NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope captured a stunning image of spiral galaxy NGC 4051.Located 45 million light-years from Earth, in the southern part of the Ursa Major I Cluster, the galaxy has hosted multiple supernovae.The first was spotted in 1983 (SN 1983I), followed by another two decades later (SN 2003ie).Both are categorized as Type Ic supernovae—produced by the core collapse of a massive star that lost its outer layer of hydrogen and helium, either via wind or mass transfer to a companion star.A third supernova was detected in 2010 (SN 2010br).All three events, according to NASA, were seen scattered throughout the center and spiral arms of NGC 4051, which sits in the southern part of the Ursa Major I Cluster.“Especially rich in spirals,” according to NASA, Ursa Major I is a subset of the larger Virgo Supercluster, which also houses the Milky Way.Supernovae occur in the final stages of a star’s life, after it’s burned through all of its hydrogen and has moved on to helium. If it’s massive enough, the star can start fusing other elements like carbon, neon, oxygen, and silicon.Eventually, the core may grow so large it can’t support its own mass, and—like a balloon inflated past its breaking point—the core suddenly collapses, creating a shockwave that causes the rest of the star to explode in a supernova.The detonation can become so bright that it briefly outshines the star’s entire home galaxy. In fact, explosive bursts of light and material seen in our Milky Way have been mistaken as new stars where none seemingly existed before.If the original star was big enough, the dense core can collapse under its own gravity and become a black hole.More on Captures Mature ‘Pinwheel’ Galaxy in Stunning ImageHubble Detects Luminous Elliptical Galaxy in SpaceNASA Fits 265,000 Galaxies Into Single ‘Hubble Legacy Field’ Image Stay on target Hubble Captures Saturn’s ‘Phonograph Record’ Ring SystemHubble Captures Gorgeous Star’s Final Stages of Life last_img read more