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Beautiful image of supernova is ESO’s image of the month

6 April 2022

Image of type 2 supernova

Dr Cosimo Inserra, a lecturer and researcher in the School of Physics and Astronomy, who is the Principal Investigator of the team on the ePESSTO+ survey, has identified a number of stellar explosions, including this image of a type 2 supernova. It has been highlighted by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) as their image of the month.

A type II supernova occurs when a giant star reaches the end of its life. They can cause the star to be so bright that it is shines more brightly than its host galaxy. This allows researchers to observe these stars for some months, or sometimes years. Supernovae are interesting to astronomers as the heavy metals they produce can end up as part of new generations of stars, the planets surrounding them and the life that may exist on those planets.

The image on the left shows the Cartwheel Galaxy before the supernova took place, while the image on the right shows the supernova.

The ePESSTO+ survey is designed to study objects that are only in the night sky for very short periods of time, such as this supernova. The image was taken with instruments located at ESO’s La Silla observatory in Chile.

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