In a captivating display of celestial wonder, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope shared a mesmerizing time-lapse video on its Instagram page, offering viewers a glimpse of the aftermath of a star’s supernova explosion. The video, posted on September 29, showcases the Cygnus Loop, the remnants of a star’s explosive supernova event.
The caption accompanying the video reads, “Ride the (shock) wave! This time-lapse video shows Hubble images of the Cygnus Loop, the tattered remnants of a star’s supernova explosion, taken in 2001 and 2020. The remnant’s shock front has expanded with time, traveling into interstellar space at over half a million miles per hour (~805,000 km/hr).”
In the video, two images from 2001 and 2020 alternate, revealing an orange ribbon of light expanding horizontally against the backdrop of the cosmos. This mesmerizing display showcases the evolution of the supernova remnant over nearly two decades.
Astronomers used Hubble to zoom in on a small section of the expanding supernova bubble, where the blast wave from the supernova collides with surrounding interstellar material. The images captured the expansion of the remnant’s shock front over time, allowing astronomers to calculate its speed.
The Cygnus Loop, where this captivating cosmic phenomenon occurs, forms a bubble-like structure measuring about 120 light-years in diameter. Located approximately 2,600 light-years from Earth, the entire nebula spans a width equivalent to six full Moons in the night sky.
Ravi Sankrit, an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, emphasized the crucial role of Hubble in providing unparalleled clarity for observing such phenomena at the edge of the expanding bubble.
Since its posting, the video has garnered over 1 million views and more than 50,000 likes, with viewers expressing awe and admiration for the beauty and mysteries of the universe. Comments on the post reflect a sense of wonder and appreciation for the stunning images captured by Hubble.
As we continue to explore the cosmos, the Hubble Space Telescope serves as a powerful tool for unraveling the secrets of our universe and sharing its breathtaking wonders with people around the world.