SCIENCE
05/01/2013 12:29 pm ET | Updated May 02, 2013

Supernova Remnant SNR 0519: Deep Space Explosion Photo Shows Ghostly Remains Of White Dwarf Star (UPDATED)

The "thin, blood-red shells" of gas in this amazing deep-space image are SNR 0519, the remains of a sun-like star that exploded in a supernova about 600 years ago.

This photo of the supernova remnant, which is located about 150,000 light years from Earth in the southern constellation Dorado, was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and released April 29.

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Update: May 2, 1:30 p.m. -- Some readers have written in, confused about how a remnant 150,000 light years away could have come from an star that "exploded violently as a supernova around 600 years ago," as the website of the European Space Agency states.

For clarification, The Huffington Post reached out to Williams College astronomer Steven Souza, who explained in an email that "light from the supernova explosion itself would have reached us between 400 and 800 years ago, but there is no indication that anyone actually observed it then. The explosion actually happened about 150,000 years ago, but due to the finite speed of light we are only now seeing its ~600-year-old remnant."

Supernovae are brilliant explosions that occur at the end of some stars' lives, and they come in two main types. Type I supernovae occur in binary (two-star) systems, when a white dwarf draws mass out of its companion star until the dwarf reaches a critical mass and explodes. In Type II supernovae, a star runs out of nuclear fuel, collapses under its own gravity, implodes and ejects its stellar material into space.

Based on the electromagnetic radiation it emits, scientists think SNR 0519 is the remnant of a type I supernova.

The remnants of some large stars that go supernova can form black holes as they collapse.

A version of the image was submitted to the Hubble Telescope's Hidden Photo Treasures contest last year and won sixth place.

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