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

Side-on view of NGC 3568, a barred spiral galaxy roughly 57 million light-years from the Milky Way in the constellation Centaurus, captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, M. Sun

In this image, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope captures a side-on view of NGC 3568, a barred spiral galaxy roughly 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 caused by the titanic explosion accompanying the death of a massive star. Whilst most astronomical discoveries are the work of teams of professional astronomers, this supernova was discovered by amateur astronomers from the Backyard Observatory Supernova Search in New Zealand. Dedicated amateur astronomers often make intriguing discoveries — particularly of fleeting astronomical phenomena such as supernovae. 

This Hubble observation comes from a hoard of data built up to pave the way for future science with the upcoming NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope. By combining ground-based observations with data from Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide Field Camera 3, astronomers have built a treasure trove of data on the connections between young stars and the clouds of cold gas in which they form. One of Webb’s key science goals is to explore the life cycle of stars — particularly how and where stars are born. Since Webb observes at infrared wavelengths, it will be able to peer through the clouds of gas and dust in stellar nurseries and observe the fledgling stars within. Webb’s superb sensitivity will even allow astronomers to directly investigate faint protostellar cores — the earliest stages of star birth.

AstronomyEuropean Space AgencyHubble Space TelescopeNASAPopular
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  • KMacK

    I really can’t understand NASA’s claim that Hubble is obsolete. Maybe it doesn’t have the “Shiniest New Stuff” but it is a dependable and, by now, expected participant in the observation of the Universe we’re living in. Yet NASA says it’s “Obsolete” and will be eventually “de-orbited” and burnt up as it re-enters the atmosphere. My observation is that since the United States no longer has the means to get a vessel up to Hubble, that rather than admit that we’ve messed up – again – by losing our near-space capability, it’s easier to simply say something is obsolete; rather than admitting that while we once could have made repairs to it, we can’t get to it anymore. It’s easier to let a piece of record-making equipment be destroyed than admit that NASA has again messed up.
    SHINY… National Amerian SHINY Adminsitration… that seems to fit.

  • Rachupalli.saaenaatha reddy

    Hindu mythology clearly speaks everything evoluted from sky to air to fire to water to matter then different& various shapes&verities so all from sky that was soonyam&unable touch sky&air but smelt