XMM-Newton’s View of Supernova 1987A

Supernova 1987A. Image credit: ESAI linked you to an image of Supernova 1987A taken by the Hubble Space Telescope around the explosion’s 20th anniversary. Here’s another, this time taken by ESA’s XMM-Newton Observatory to show you how it looks in X-rays.

And in the X-ray spectrum, SN 1987A is quite spectacular. It outshines all the nearby X-ray sources, and it’s now 10 times brighter than it was when XMM-Newton first observed it back in 2000. The X-rays we see are generated when the expanding supernova shock wave interacts with the surrounding material.

The data gathered by XMM-Newton will help scientists understand how a supernova remnant forms, and eventually reveal the neutron star spinning at the centre.

Original Source: ESA News Release