A team of astronomers led by the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) in Western Australia has revealed new images of the death throes of Supernova 1987A, whose demise was first spotted more than 25 years ago.

 

Situated on the outskirts of the Tarantula Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud, SN1987A expired about 168,000 light years from Earth.

 

In new research published in the Astrophysical Journal, a team of astronomers from Australia and Hong Kong has succeeded in using the Australia Telescope Compact Array, a CSIRO radio telescope in NSW, to make the highest-resolution images yet of the expanding supernova.

 

Dr Giovanna Zanardo, lead author of ICRAR, a joint venture between Curtin University and the University of WA in Perth, said using the radio telescope had allowed unprecedented details to be captured.

 

"Unlike optical telescopes, a radio telescope can operate in the daytime and can peer through gas and dust allowing astronomers to see the inner workings of objects like supernova remnants, radio galaxies and black holes," Dr Zanardo said.