A Spirit in Perpetual Night

Image credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA). Acknowledgement: J. Hughes (Rutgers University).

Located roughly 150,000 light years away in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) in the constellation Dorado, a spirit wanders in perpetual night, only observing stars at a great distance. You see, this object was itself a star in its day. In fact it likely had a partner that directly contributed to its death.

Thought to be a Type 1a supernova, two white dwarf stars orbited one another with one siphoning material from the other onto itself. Around 400 years ago, the mass of the hungry star crossed the Chandrasekhar limit (1.4 solar masses) and into what’s sometimes called Chandrasekhar mass where it then detonated.

In the end, I suppose one could conclude that this wandering spirit created the very night that it’s now confined to as its actions extinguished its own light. Perhaps, as it was a star, it knew only light and was curious as to what the darkness held. Eventually making the commitment to enter the darkness and never return…

Hubble optical light image of this object.

I hope you all enjoyed this post and though I don’t often personify stellar objects, sometimes the mood warrants the thought. Have a great weekend everyone.

NOTES: The lead image is a combined effort. The red shell of ejected material was captured in optical light by the Hubble Space Telescope while the green interior was imaged by the Chandra X-ray telescope. All links are below.

Blue/green X-ray imagery captured by the NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory

Name: SNR B0509-67.5 (or SNR 0509 for short)

What is it?: Supernova remnant

How big is it?: Roughly 23 light years in diameter

How far away is it?: Roughly 150,000 light years

How old is it?: Roughly 400 years

Apparent magnitude: N/A (extremely dim)

Discovery: N/A

Where is it (General)?: Southern constellation Dorado

Where is it (Exact RA/Dec J2000)?: RA 05h 09m 31.0s / Dec −67° 31′ 18.29″

ESA Hubble only page for this image: https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/heic1018a/

ESA Hubble/Chandra image page: https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/heic1018b/

ESA Hubble page for this object: https://www.spacetelescope.org/news/heic1018/

NASA Chandra page for the Hubble/Chandra image: http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2010/snr0509/

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