The Hubble Space Telescope has unveiled a breathtaking image of the distant galaxy UGC 5189A, situated in the constellation Leo, providing unprecedented detail about a supernova that occurred over 150 million years ago. This remarkable celestial event, known as SN 2010jl, released energy at a staggering 2.5 billion times the visible energy output of the sun over just three years.
SN 2010jl belongs to the category of Type II supernovae, marking the dramatic demise of a massive star with a minimum mass of 40 to 50 times that of our sun. The supernova occurs when these colossal stars exhaust their nuclear fusion fuel, leading to the cessation of the energy supporting them against gravitational forces.
The Hubble Space Telescope, which has been observing the universe in infrared since 1990, has been studying UGC 5189A since 2010 to gain insights into the aftermath of SN 2010jl. This particular supernova serves as a valuable specimen for scientists to understand the conditions and changes in the surroundings caused by these cosmic explosions.
The latest image, created from data collected during the Hubble’s recent observations, depicts UGC 5189A as a flat, slightly misshapen disk with a distinctive upward curve. The galaxy’s right side is adorned with vivid “blue fizz,” representing plumes of bright gas and dust, while the left side appears less dramatic with patchier coverings of gas and dust.
Beyond the main bright disk, a dark coffee-colored trail of gas underlines UGC 5189A, leading to the top left-hand corner of the image. The background, predominantly dark, showcases a few small galaxies punctuating the inky blackness, and a solitary star is visible in the top right-hand corner of the Hubble image.
Hubble’s exploration of UGC 5189A extends beyond the examination of supernova remnants. The space telescope has also scrutinized several other galaxies hosting supernovae, providing valuable insights into recent stellar explosions located around 1,000 million light-years away.
In summary, the Hubble Space Telescope’s recent observations offer a captivating glimpse into the aftermath of a supernova, shedding light on the cosmic processes that shape our vast universe. As scientists continue to unravel the mysteries surrounding these celestial phenomena, each new image from the Hubble contributes to our expanding understanding of the cosmos.