The Tarantula Nebula and supernova 1987a in the LMC
AAO image reference AAT 48.    « Previous || Next »

The Tarantula Nebula and supernova 1987a in the Large Magellanic Cloud, NGC 2070, 30 Doradus, ngc2070.jpg, supernova1987a.jpg
Top left is NE. Image width is about 28 arc min
Image and text © 1987-2010, Australian Astronomical Observatory, photograph by David Malin.


The brightest star in this picture is the first supernova to be visible to the unaided eye for almost 400 years. It occured in a region rich in young, blue stars and it was one of these which destroyed itself. When this picture was taken, about 2 weeks after the supernova was discovered, at the end of February, 1987, the expanding shell of material had already changed from blue to orange-red as it cooled. The location of the supernova in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) means that it can only be seen from the southern hemisphere. This was very convenient in the early stages of the development of the supernova, since the LMC is always above the horizon of the AAT.

Related Images
AAT 48b.  Supernova 1987A, the star, in March 1987
AAT 49.    The Tarantula Nebula in the LMC, before supernova SN1987A
AAT 50.    Supernova 1987A, before and after images
UKS 15b.  Before and after images of SN1987A
AAT 66.    The light echo of supernova 1987A
AAT 67.    Supernova 1987a after 4 years
Constellation of Dorado (external site)

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Updated by David Malin, 2010, August 1