What is causing the picturesque ripples of supernova remnant SNR 0509-67.5?
The ripples, as well as the greater nebula, were
imaged in unprecedented detail by the
Hubble Space Telescope
in 2006 and again late last year.
The red color was recoded by a Hubble filter that left only the light emitted by
The precise reason for the ripples remains unknown, with two considered origin hypotheses relating them to relatively dense portions of either ejected or impacted gas.
The reason for the broader
red glowing ring
is more clear, with expansion speed and light echos relating it to a classic
Type Ia supernova
explosion that must have occurred about 400 years earlier.
currently spans about 23
and lies about 160,000 light years away toward the constellation of the dolphinfish
(Dorado) in the
Large Magellanic Cloud.
The expanding ring carries with it another great mystery,
however: why wasn't this
seen 400 years ago when light from the initial blast should have passed the Earth?
ESA, and the
Hubble Heritage Team