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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Stunning composite image featuring SN 1996cr in Circinus Galaxy

Stunning composite image featuring SN 1996cr in Circinus Galaxy
Click on the image to enlarge

This composite image shows the central regions of the nearby Circinus galaxy, located about 12 million light years away. Data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory is shown in blue and data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space telescope is shown in yellow ("I-band"), red (hydrogen emission), cyan ("V-band") and light blue (oxygen emission). When enlarging the image, you may see the blue source near the lower right hand corner of the image which is the supernova SN 1996cr, that has finally been identified over a decade after it exploded. The supernova was first singled out in 2001 as a bright, variable object in a Chandra image, but it was not confirmed as a supernova until years later, when clues from a spectrum obtained with ESO's Very Large Telescope led the team to start the real detective work of searching through data from 18 different telescopes, both ground- and space-based, nearly all of which was in the archives. SN 1996cr is one of the nearest supernovae in the last 25 years.
Credit: X-ray (NASA/CXC/Columbia/F.Bauer et al); Visible light (NASA/STScI/UMD/A.Wilson et al.)
Credit: ESO

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