National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) iconic Hubble Space Telescope has capture stunning image of Stellar Shrapnel that was scattered in the sky when a star exploded nearly 160,000 light-years away. The breathtaking image was taken by Wide Field Camera 3 aboard HST.
The star was a white dwarf that exploded in our neighbour galaxy called Large Magellanic Cloud. Around 97 percent of stars within the Milky Way that are between a tenth and eight times the mass of the sun are expected to end up as white dwarfs. These stars can face a number of different fates, one of which is to explode as supernovae, some of the brightest events ever observed in the universe. If a white dwarf is part of a binary star system, it can siphon material from a close companion. After gobbling up more than it can handle — and swelling to approximately one and a half times the size of the sun — the star becomes unstable and ignites as a Type Ia supernova.
This was the case for the supernova remnant pictured here, which is known as DEM L71. It formed when a white dwarf reached the end of its life and ripped itself apart, ejecting a superheated cloud of debris in the process. Slamming into the surrounding interstellar gas, this stellar shrapnel gradually diffused into the separate fiery filaments of material seen scattered across this skyscape.
Hubble Space Telescope is a joint venture by NASA and ESA. It was launched back in 1990 and since then it has captured deepest corners of the universe. At present, it is the largest telescope present in space. Moreover, it will be replaced by NASA’s James Webb Telescope in 2018 that thrice larger lens (measures 8 meter in diameter) than HST.