On February 23, 1987 the night sky from the Earth’s southern emisphere was enriched by a new bright object, a supernova that exploded in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a dwarf galaxy satellite of the Milky Way at a distance of 168,000 light-years. SN 1987A (the name of the supernova) was the final fate of a massive star. Its expanding remnant is interacting with a highly inhomogeneous circumstellar medium consisting in a ring of dense material around the SN and is offering the opportunity to unveil the physical processes associated with the SN and the final stages of stellar evolution. The model shows the remnant in 2017, 30 years after the outburst. The blast wave is marked by the transparent blue surface; the shock-heated plasma is marked in red, unshocked clumps of circumstellar medium in blue.
Reference: Orlando et al. 2015, ApJ 810, id.168.
Credits: INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo. The Milky Way image is from ESO/S. Brunier.