Something new in the sky

Eso_potw2210b_1024

eso_potw2210b March 7th, 2022

Credit: ESO/Inserra et al.

Around 500 million light-years away in the constellation Sculptor lies a rather peculiar looking galaxy, known as the Cartwheel galaxy. It was once a normal spiral galaxy that underwent a head-on interaction with a smaller companion galaxy several million years ago, giving it its signature cartwheel appearance. But there are other curious things about this object. Something interesting is taking place in the lower left corner of this image, captured in December 2021 with ESO’s New Technology Telescope (NTT): a supernova. Compare it with this image, taken in August 2014 by the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) mounted on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), shows the galaxy before this supernova took place. This event, called SN2021afdx, is a type II supernova, which occurs when a massive star reaches the end of its evolution. Supernovae can cause a star to shine brighter than its entire host galaxy and can be visible to observers for months, or even years — a blink of an eye on astronomical timescales. Supernovae are one of the reasons astronomers say we are all made of stardust: they sprinkle the surrounding space with heavy elements forged by the progenitor star, which may end up being part of later generations of stars, the planets around them and life that may exist in those planets.  Detecting and studying these unpredictable events requires international collaboration. The first time SN2021afdx was spotted was in November 2021 by the ATLAS survey, and it was then followed up by ePESSTO+, the Public ESO Spectroscopic Survey for Transient Objects. ePESSTO+ is designed to study objects that are only in the night sky for very short periods of time, such as this supernova. It does this by using the EFOSC2 and SOFI instruments on the NTT, located at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile. EFOSC2 not only took this beautiful image, but also spectra that allowed the PESSTO team to identify this event as a type II supernova. Links Comparison video alternating between the MUSE and NTT images. Side-by-side comparison Individual MUSE image

Provider: European Southern Observatory

Image Source: https://www.eso.org/public/images/potw2210b/

Curator: European Southern Observatory, Garching bei München, None, Germany

Image Use Policy: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
Cartwheel galaxy
Subject - Distant Universe
Galaxy > Type > Spiral
Star > Evolutionary Stage > Supernova
Eso_potw2210b_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 0h 37m 40.3s
DEC = -33° 42’ 58.7”
Orientation
North is 0.3° CW
Field of View
4.0 x 2.9 arcminutes
Constellation
Sculptor

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Blue NTT (EFOSC2) Optical (B) 440.0 nm
Green NTT (EFOSC2) Optical (V) 547.0 nm
Red NTT (EFOSC2) Optical (R) 643.0 nm
Spectrum_base
Blue
Green
Red
Eso_potw2210b_1280
×
ID
potw2210b
Subject Category
D.5.1.1   D.3.1.8  
Subject Name
Cartwheel galaxy
Credits
ESO/Inserra et al.
Release Date
2022-03-07T06:00:00
Lightyears
Redshift
Reference Url
https://www.eso.org/public/images/potw2210b/
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Distance Notes
Facility
New Technology Telescope, New Technology Telescope, New Technology Telescope
Instrument
EFOSC2, EFOSC2, EFOSC2
Color Assignment
Blue, Green, Red
Band
Optical, Optical, Optical
Bandpass
B, V, R
Central Wavelength
440, 547, 643
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
None, None, None
Notes
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
J2000
Reference Value
9.4179400785, -33.7163153428
Reference Dimension
988.0, 724.0
Reference Pixel
494.0, 362.0
Scale
-6.68063025049e-05, 6.68063025049e-05
Rotation
-0.26
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
Full
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
European Southern Observatory
URL
https://www.eso.org
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2
City
Garching bei München
State/Province
None
Postal Code
D-85748
Country
Germany
Rights
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Publisher
European Southern Observatory
Publisher ID
eso
Resource ID
potw2210b
Metadata Date
2022-01-14T13:34:19+01:00
Metadata Version
1.1
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

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There is no distance meta data in this image.