Gemini North GMOS Image of M74
Imaged by the Gemini Observatory and Hubble Space Telescope (HST) less than a year prior to the gigantic explosion, the star is located in the nearby galaxy M74 in the constellation of Pisces. This image of M74 (NGC 628) was obtained by the 8.1-meter Gemini North Telescope on Mauna Kea Hawaii using the newly commissioned Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph. To make the color image, three images were combined to make this red, green and blue composite. The three images were obtained on the night of August 13-14, 2001. These observations allowed a team of European astronomers led by Dr. Stephen Smartt of the University of Cambridge, England to verify theoretical models showing how a star like this can meet such a violent fate.