NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has discovered that light echoes are coming out from a distant supernova explosion. It revealed that a white dwarf star that exploded as Type la supernova around eleven years ago has been emitting a shell which is expanding continuously and sweeping through the interstellar space.
The supernova named SN 2014J occurred at the upper right of nearby starburst galaxy M82 and is marked by an X. In 2006, the Hubble telescope first spotted the M82 galaxy using its Advanced Cameras for Surveys. Later on January 21, 2014, the supernova SN 2014J spotted by the Hubble using the same Advance Cameras for Surveys instrument. The shell of light was imaged between November 2014 and October 2016, as reported by NASA.
The shell of light rippling through the interstellar space is called as ‘light echo. NASA said that as the light echo moves through space, it is bouncing off a giant dust cloud that extends 300 to 1,600 light years from the supernova and is being reflected towards Earth. This supernova explosion is the closest Type la explosion to the Earth in at least 40 years.
According to NASA, Type la supernova occurs in a binary star system which contains a white dwarf and a companion star. The white dwarf is the one that undergoes supernova after its companion star dumps huge amount debris into it. The image of M82 reveals a bright blue disk, webs of shredded clouds, and fiery-looking plumes of glowing hydrogen blasting out of its central regions. The M82 appears higher in the northern spring sky in the direction of the constellation Ursa Major. M82 is also called the Cigar Galaxy owing to its odd elliptical shape. The M82, under the influence of neighboring M81 spiral galaxy, forms new stars at a very rapid pace due to the compression of the gas. The M82 starburst Galaxy is five times more luminous than our Milky Way Galaxy.