Spots to go in the solitude of a long night...

   (Wait for background image to finish loading [74 K]...)

 
     Planetary Nebula NGC3132 - A Girdled Stellar Shroud [123 K]

     Supernova 1994D and the Unexpected Universe [256 K] -

   The large number and great distances to supernovae
   measured in 1998 have been interpreted as indicating that we live
   in a previously unexpected universe





 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
The picture on this page is entitled:
   Sher 25: A Pending Supernova?.
Credit & Copyright: W. Brandner (UIUC), E.K. Grebel (U. Wuerzburg), et al., ESO, 1.54-m Telescope, Chile. [Size: 131 K].
It is to be found at the excellent Astronomy Picture of the Day Archive.




Explanation:
No supernova has ever been predicted - yet. These dramatic stellar explosions that destroy stars, that create and disperse the elements that compose people and planets, that light up the night sky, are not so well understood that astronomers can accurately predict when a star will explode - yet. Perhaps Sher 25 will be the first. Sher 25, designated by the arrow, is a blue supergiant star located just outside the open star cluster and ionized region named NGC 3603. Sher 25 lies in the center of an hourglass shaped nebula much like the one that surrounds the last bright supernova visible from Earth: SN1987a. Now the hourglass shaped rings around SN1987a were emitted before that blue supergiant exploded. Maybe Sher 25 has expelled these bipolar rings in a step that closely precedes a supernova. Maybe not. If so, Sher 25 may be within a few thousand years of its spectacular finale.



Here are just a few more of the many other beautiful far-out spots out there:
   Rumors of a Strange Universe
   Hubble Heritage Project - Archive Gallery Page
   ...and then eventually, welcome back to Planet Earth