sky history

Just 670 years ago, this supernova burst into the night sky

A spectacular explosion became visible on Earth during the Middle Ages.

Originally Published: 
Glowing pink, green, and blue dust clouds make up a supernova remnant against a backdrop of bright s...
X-ray: NASA/CXC/GSFC/B. J. Williams et al.; Optical: NASA/ESA/STScI

NASA/CXC/D. Berry; NASA/STSci/Hubble; ESA/M. Kornmesser

When stars die, some explode into supernovas and leave behind shimmering remnants — many of which we’ve observed via telescope.

Supernova remnants often conceal the finer details of their origins within clouds of cosmic dust.

It’s not easy to tell how long ago a supernova explosion began, but sometimes telescope records can illuminate the past.

NASA/CXC/D. Berry; NASA/STSci/Hubble; ESA/M. Kornmesser