NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope recently shared the stunning image of the lazily winding spiral arms of the spectacular galaxy located around 150 million light-years from the Milky Way. Known as NGC 976, the galaxy is a spiral galaxy.
The galaxy, also designated as IRAS 02311+2045, LEDA 9776, and UGC 2042, is 90,000 light-years in diameter.
One of the most violent astronomical events ever recorded has occurred in NGC 976: a supernova explosion. When big stars reach the end of their lives, these catastrophically destructive occurrences can briefly outshine entire galaxies. In addition to signaling the demise of large stars, supernovae also produce heavy elements that are later integrated into stars and planets.
Hubble astronomers said, “Supernovae are also a useful aid for astronomers who measure the distances to faraway galaxies. The amount of energy thrown out into space by supernova explosions is very uniform, allowing astronomers to estimate their distances from how bright they appear to be when viewed from Earth.”
Supernova explosion emits very uniform energy. This allows astronomers to estimate their distances from how bright they appear when viewed from Earth.