This cosmic bubble, SNR 0509-67.5 (or SNR 0509 for short), is the signature of a violent explosion known as a supernova remnant – the gaseous remains of a star that blew up. The kind of explosion was a Type Ia supernova – valuable for measuring distances across the universe, because they are thought to have a standard peak brightness when they explode.
SNR 0509 inhabits a small, nearby galaxy called the Large Magellanic Cloud, roughly 160,000 light-years away. This 400 year old bubble of gas is 23 light-years across and growing. It is expanding at more than 11 million miles per hour (5,000 kilometers per second).
This movie presents a three-dimensional visualization of SNR 0509-67.5. This unique view reminds us that the objects in Hubble images are not all at the same distance but rather spread across light-years of space. The stars and the shell of glowing gas from the Hubble two-dimensional image have been separated using both scientific knowledge and artistic license to create the depth in the movie. Of note, the relative distances between stars and the nebula have been greatly compressed.
Publication: December 14, 2010