A seemingly delicate bubble of gas photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2006 captures the aftermath of a supernova in the Large Magellanic Cloud some 160,000 light years from Earth’s Milky Way. The remnants of the doomed star form a ring-like structure 23 light years across expanding through space at 18 million kilometres per hour (11 million mph). The remnant, known as SNR 0509, features ripples in the bubble’s surface that may be the result of density variations or collisions with debris from the original explosion. This image was captured by Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys using a filter that isolates the glowing hydrogen in the expanding shell. Visible light images of the surrounding star field were taken by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera.
Galaxy clusters are enormous collections of hundreds or even thousands of galaxies and vast reservoirs of hot gas embedded in massive clouds of dark matter. To learn more about clusters, including how they grow via collisions, astronomers have used some of the world’s most powerful X-ray, optical and radio telescopes. The name for this galaxy cluster project is the “Frontier Fields”.
Astronomers harnessing the combined power of NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes have found the faintest object ever seen in the early universe. It existed about 400 million years after the big bang, 13.8 billion years ago. The new object is comparable in size to the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a diminutive satellite galaxy of our Milky Way.