3D Supernova reconstructed

Researchers using the European Southern Observatory‘s Very Large Telescope have reconstructed the three dimensional appearance of supernova 1987A. The supernova, which has the benefit of being relatively bright and close, was subjected to Integral Field Spectroscopy. This meant that an image of the thing was taken and in each pixel, the Doppler shift of the light allowed a line of sight velocity to be determined. Added to that was the known distances between the material and the centre of the image, where it exploded out from the star, and the time taken for it all to travel. With the velocity structure rebuilt and assigned to the visible structure, the 3D behaviour of the explosion became apparent. It showed a lop sided supernova, fitting well with the more recent computer simulations of such things.

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