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Hubble Space Telescope Marks Explosive Galaxy

When massive stars die at the end of their short lives, they illuminate the cosmos with bright, explosive bursts of light and materials called supernovae (via ESA / Hubble / NASA).

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captured a stunning image of the spiral galaxy NGC 4051.

Located 45 million light-years away from Earth, in the southern part of the Ursa Major I cluster, the galaxy has hosted many supernovae.

The first was found in 1983 (SN 1983I), followed by two decades later (SN 2003ie).

Both are classified as Ic-type supernovae, produced by the collapse of the nucleus of a massive star that has lost its outer layer of hydrogen and helium, either by wind or mass transfer to an associated star.

A third supernova was detected in 2010 (SN 2010br).

According to NASA, the three events were seen scattered in the center and spiral arms of the NGC 4051, located in the southern part of the Ursa Major I cluster.

"Especially rich in spirals", according to NASA, Ursa Major I is a subset of the largest supercluster of the Virgin, which also houses the Milky Way.

Supernovae appear in the last stages of a star's life, after it has burned all its hydrogen and gone to helium. If it is massive enough, the star can begin to fuse other elements such as carbon, neon, oxygen and silicon.

Eventually, the core can become so big that it can not support its own mass and, like a balloon inflated beyond its breaking point, it suddenly collapses, creating a shockwave that detonates the rest of it. the star in a supernova.

The detonation can become so bright that it briefly eclipses the star's entire galaxy. In fact, bursts of light and explosive materials observed in our Milky Way have been confused with new stars where none seemed to exist before.

If the original star was large enough, the dense core can collapse under its own gravity and become a black hole.

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