A violent and chaotic-looking mass of gas and dust is seen in this Hubble Space Telescope image of a nearby supernova remnant. Denoted N 63A, the object is the remains of a massive star that exploded, spewing its gaseous layers out into an already turbulent region.
The supernova remnant N 63A is a member of N 63, a star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). Visible from the southern hemisphere, the LMC is an irregular galaxy lying 160,000 light-years from our own Milky Way galaxy. The LMC provides excellent examples of active star formation and supernova remnants, many of which have been studied with Hubble.
Numerous of the stars in the immediate vicinity of N 63A are extremely massive. It is estimated that the ‘mother-star’, or progenitor, of the supernova that produced the remnant seen here was about 50 times more massive than our own Sun. Such a massive star has strong stellar winds that can clear away the gas around it and form a wind-blown bubble. The supernova that formed N 63A is thought to have exploded inside the central cavity of such a wind-blown bubble, which was itself embedded in a clumpy portion of the LMCs interstellar medium.
Lars Christensen | alfa
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