Evolution of an exploding star

The evolution of supernova 1987A, as shown by pictures taken by the Hubble Space Telescope between 1994 and 2016. Since its launch in 1990, the Hubble telescope has observed the expanding dust cloud of SN 1987A several times and helped astronomers cr
PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The evolution of supernova 1987A, as shown by pictures taken by the Hubble Space Telescope between 1994 and 2016. Since its launch in 1990, the Hubble telescope has observed the expanding dust cloud of SN 1987A several times and helped astronomers create a better understanding of these cosmic explosions. The growing number of bright spots on the ring is produced by an onslaught of material unleashed by the explosion. The shock wave hits the ring's innermost regions, heating them up and causing them to glow.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 26, 2017, with the headline 'Evolution of an exploding star'. Print Edition | Subscribe