Four Bright Knots of Superheated Gas in Supernova 1987A Ring

Image processing is used to emphasize four new bright knots of superheated gas discovered in the February 2 Hubble observations. The brightest knot, at the far right, was seen in 1997. Astronomers have been waiting several years to see more of the ring light-up as the supernova shockwave smashes into it. This is the first definitive sign of the full onset of a dramatic and violent collision which will continue over the next few years, rejuvenating SN1987A as a powerful source of X-ray and radio emissions.


NASA/ESA, Peter Challis and Robert Kirshner (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), Peter Garnavich (University of Notre Dame) and the SINS collaboration.

About the Image

NASA press release
NASA caption
Release date:16 February 2000, 06:00
Size:564 x 664 px

About the Object

Name:SN 1987A
Type:Local Universe : Star : Evolutionary Stage : Supernova
Distance:170000 light years

Image Formats

Large JPEG
51.5 KB
Screensize JPEG
99.8 KB


Position (RA):5 35 27.97
Position (Dec):-69° 16' 11.28"
Field of view:0.04 x 0.04 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 290.2° left of vertical

Colours & filters

Optical Hubble Space Telescope

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