Two teams of astronomers used Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 to study UGC 12295, a spiral galaxy in Pisces, following a supernova detected in 2015. While the first team investigated the supernova’s remnants to understand matter evolution, the second revisited previous supernova sites to study the nature of their host systems.
The tranquil spiral galaxy UGC 12295 basks leisurely in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. This galaxy lies around 192 million light-years away in the constellation Pisces, and is almost face-on when viewed from Earth, displaying a bright central bar and tightly wound spiral arms.
Despite appearing as an island of tranquillity in this image, UGC 12295 played host to a catastrophically violent explosion — a supernova — that was first detected in 2015. This supernova prompted two different teams of astronomers to propose Hubble observations of UGC 12295 that would sift through the wreckage of this vast stellar explosion.
Supernovae are the explosive deaths of massive stars, and are responsible for forging many of the elements found here on Earth. The first team of astronomers used Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) to examine the detritus left behind by the supernova in order to better understand the evolution of matter in our Universe.
The second team of astronomers also used WFC3 to explore the aftermath of UGC 12295’s supernova, but their investigation focused on returning to the sites of some of the best-studied nearby supernovae. Hubble’s keen vision can reveal lingering traces of these energetic events, shedding light on the nature of the systems that host supernovae.