June 19, 2024

Hubble Gazes Sidelong at a Galaxy Where a Supernova Was Discovered by Amateur Astronomers

Side-on view of NGC 3568, a barred spiral nebula approximately 57 million light-years from the Milky Way in the constellation Centaurus, caught by the Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: ESA/Hubble & & NASA, M. Sun
In this image, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope catches a side-on view of NGC 3568, a disallowed spiral galaxy approximately 57 million light-years from the Milky Way in the constellation Centaurus. In 2014 the light from a supernova explosion in NGC 3568 reached Earth– a sudden flare of light triggered by the titanic explosion accompanying the death of an enormous star. Whilst most huge discoveries are the work of teams of professional astronomers, this supernova was found by amateur astronomers from the Backyard Observatory Supernova Search in New Zealand. Dedicated amateur astronomers often make interesting discoveries– especially of short lived huge phenomena such as supernovae..
This Hubble observation originates from a hoard of information developed to lead the way for future science with the upcoming NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope. By combining ground-based observations with information from Hubbles Advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide Field Camera 3, astronomers have actually built a gold mine of information on the connections in between young stars and the clouds of cold gas in which they form. Among Webbs crucial science objectives is to check out the life process of stars– especially how and where stars are born. Because Webb observes at infrared wavelengths, it will be able to peer through the clouds of gas and dust in excellent nurseries and observe the new stars within. Webbs excellent level of sensitivity will even allow astronomers to straight examine faint protostellar cores– the earliest stages of star birth.

By ESA/Hubble
December 12, 2021