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2006-07-21
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Cosmic Dust

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Tagged As: Science and Space

In 1987, astronomers witnessed a supernova exploding 'live' in the nearby Large Magellanic Cloud. Observing the death of a star was an incredible opportunity for scientists around the globe. Supernova 1987-A, as it came to be known, continued to interest astronomers. 165,000 light years away, a ring was forming around the exploded star's remains. Initially, astronomers conjectured the glowing ring was simply the radiating remnants from the exploded star's core. Today, a new theory has emerged. Astronomers believe the rings are an aggregation of space dust, ejected from the star prior to the explosion. As the supernova's blast forced through the surrounding dust, the particles became irradiated as their temperature rose 10 million degrees. The rekindled attention to Supernova 1987-A comes as astronomers hope to witness what may have happened early in the universe's existence.



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