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Forecasting Helps Hubble Capture These Supernova Images

17 Dec 2015, 10:16 am

We know that when a star dies, it goes out with a bang! However, catching an explosive supernova was only done by pure luck- until now. Astronomers were able to predict the reappearance of “Refsdal” supernova using very sophisticated modelling techniques. This allowed NASA/ESA Hubble Space telescope to capture the image. 12366250_10153735451943426_9219843198137596630_n
Located in the galaxy cluster MACS J1149.5+2223, the supernova exploded 10 billion years ago but the light has taken 5 billion years to reach us. Similar to methods used in weather prediction, numerous models of the galaxy cluster were used to analyze when the reappearance would occur. hs-2015-46-a-web
The detection of Refsdal’s reappearance served as a unique opportunity for astronomers to test their models of how mass, especially that of mysterious dark matter, is distributed within this galaxy cluster.

Appearances of the Refsdal Supernova

Appearances of the Refsdal SupernovaThis HD video shows the three appearances of the Refsdal supernova in the galaxy cluster MACS J1149.5+2223. Calculations showed that the first image of the supernova appeared in 1998—an event not observed with a telescope. The second image produced an almost perfect Einstein Cross, which was observed in November 2014. The latest appearance was observed by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space telescope on December 11, 2015, as correctly predicted by seven different models.The positions of all three events are highlighted in this video with animated supernovae, even though the Einstein Cross event is also visible in the original image.Credit: ESA/Hubble, Music: Johan B MonellDuration: 40 secondsHubble Space Telescope#NASA #Hubble #Astronomy #Space #Science #Supernova #Refsdal #Galaxy #Cluster #MACSJ114952223 #GravitationalLensing #EinsteinCross #Cosmos #Universe #ESA #STScI #Video #HD 

Posted by Friends of NASA on Wednesday, December 16, 2015

For WeatherNation: Meteorologist, Monica Cryan
(Images: NASA)

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