Image Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Royal Military College of Canada/P.Chandra et al); Optical: NASA/STScI

Supernova explosions might be the most destructive force known to man, but they are also an incredibly important part of modern cosmology. Not only do they help us better understand the life and death of stars themselves, but they also help us understand dark energy, the elusive force behind the universe's expansion, (Moreover, they help us determine how far away distant objects are.)

The supernova remnant we are looking at here today, named SN 2010jl, is located in a galaxy more than 160 million light-years away, in the constellation of Leo. The galaxy, UGC 5189A, is small and quaint, measuring in at just 36,000 light-years across.

In 2010, the supernova was first noted using data collected from the "All Sky Automated Survey." To put together a balanced image of the galaxy and the ongoing activity, images of the area were taken at different wavelengths and stitched together, forming a composite image. X-ray data collected from Chandra is in purple. Optical data taken by the Hubble Space Telescope is in red, green and blue, while the remnant itself is the very bright x-ray source located near the top of the image.

To this day, SN 2010jl remains the most luminous remnant seen in x-rays. It's also ten times more luminous than any other supernova shock-wave from the same caliber of star -- leading astronomers to believe that this remnant was forged by something special.

See a larger image here.


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