Supernova remnant 1987A continues to reveal its secrets
In February of 1987 astronomers observing the Large Magellanic Cloud, a nearby dwarf galaxy, noticed the sudden appearance of what looked like a new star. In fact they weren’t watching the beginnings of a star but the end of one and the brightest supernova seen from Earth in the four centuries since the telescope was invented. By the next morning news of the discovery had spread across the globe and southern hemisphere stargazers began watching the aftermath of this enormous stellar explosion, known as a supernova.
In the two and a half decades since then, the remnant of Supernova 1987A has continued to be a focus for researchers around the world, providing a wealth of information about one of the Universe’s most extreme events.