Compass Image for NGC 7424
Seventeen years ago, astronomers witnessed supernova 2001ig go off 40 million light-years away in the galaxy NGC 7424, in the southern constellation Grus, the Crane. Shortly after SN 2001ig exploded, scientists photographed the supernova with the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in 2002. Two years later, they followed up with the Gemini South Observatory, which hinted at the presence of a surviving binary companion. As the supernova’s glow faded, scientists focused Hubble on that location in 2016. They pinpointed and photographed the surviving companion, which was possible only due to Hubble’s exquisite resolution and ultraviolet sensitivity. Hubble observations of SN 2001ig provide the best evidence yet that some supernovas originate in double-star systems.