What's causing those odd rings in
Twenty five years ago, in 1987, the brightest supernova
in recent history was seen in the
Large Magellanic Cloud.
At the center of the
above picture is an object central to the
remains of the violent stellar explosion.
Surrounding the center are
curious outer rings appearing as a flattened figure 8.
Although large telescopes including the
Hubble Space Telescope monitor the curious rings every few years, their origin remains a mystery.
Pictured above is a Hubble image of the SN1987A remnant taken last year.
Speculation into the cause of the rings includes beamed
jets emanating from an otherwise hidden
neutron star left over from the supernova, and the interaction of the
wind from the progenitor star with gas released before the explosion.