- (Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/DSS)
A massive star explosion has been caught in an amazing photo by NASA.The picture shows the remnant of a supernova, Cassiopeia A, which is 11,000 light years away from Earth.
The extraordinary photo, which was captured by NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) - an X-ray telescope, has stunned space lovers.
A supernova is caused when a large star collapses on itself, usually resulting into it shrinking into a dying star, such as a white dwarf.
The supernova will cause the star's matter to be expelled outwards, creating a shockwave shooting out to the space around the star. According to NASA, gases and other particles are heated and collected as the explosion expands in an almost spherical shape.
The main goal of NuSTAR is to capture space events such as black holes and supernovae, which occur at much higher energies than older more-traditional X-ray telescopes could capture.
Light from the huge star explosion is predicted to have reached the Earth about 300 years ago, and have taken 11,000 years to reach our plant, NASA has stated. Notes further add that the star will have long been dead, but scientists will be examining many of the affects resulting from the explosion.
In the photo a blue ring can be seen around the spherical supernova, and this blue ring was caused by the shockwave colliding with space debris around the star, according to NASA.
The shockwave propels the space debris to speeds that are just a fraction of 1 percent below the speed of light, according to NASA.
The NuSTAR telescope has been praised by scientists who say that it has allowed them to see star explosions in much greater detail, which allows them to understand supernovae and black holes to a much greater degree.
Fiona Harrison, NuSTAR principal investigator at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, has said, "Before NuSTAR, high-energy X-ray pictures of this galaxy and the two black holes would be so fuzzy that everything would appear as one pixel."
Brian Grefenstette, a lead researcher at California Institute of Technology, has also said, "Cas A is the poster child for studying how massive stars explode and also provides us a clue to the origin of the high-energy particles, or cosmic rays, that we see here on Earth."
Here is a video of a previous supernova: