A Star Violently Died To Bring You This Jaw-Dropping Image From NASA's Space Telescope
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captured an image of the debris left behind from the cataclysmic death of a massive star. Dem L 190 is the brightest supernova remnant in the Large Magellanic Cloud and resides approximately 160,000 light-years from Earth.
DEM L 190 resembles the "puffs of smoke and sparks from a summer fireworks display." The exquisite filaments are actually sheets of debris from a stellar explosion in a neighboring galaxy. The remnant is from a massive star that died in a supernova blast whose light would have reached Earth thousands of years ago. Hubble first captured DEM L 190 in 2003 (see image below), with the latest image incorporating additional data and improved image processing techniques.
The new data came from two different astronomical investigations, utilizing one of Hubble's retired instruments, the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2). While WFPC2 has since been replaced by the more powerful Wide Field Camera 3, it produced a series of stunning public outreach images. The first investigation used DEM L 190 as a natural laboratory. During this time, it studied the interaction of supernova remnants and the interstellar medium. In the second investigation, astronomers used Hubble to pinpoint the origin of a Soft Gamma-ray Repeater.
The filamentary material in DEM L 190 will eventually become recycled into building new generations of stars. This is the same process from which our own Sun and planets were constructed, via similar debris of a supernova that exploded in the Milky Way billions of years ago, according to NASA.
The supernova remnant also shelters a very powerful spinning neutron star that may be the central remnant from the initial blast. It is not uncommon for the core of an exploded supernova star to become a spinning neutron star, also called a pulsar due to the regular pulses of energy from the rotational spin.