Imagine the Universe!

What is this image?

Credit: NASA/Swift/S. Immler

The images to the left show a supernova (SN 2006bp, marked by a white circle) inside its host galaxy (NGC 3953), one day after its explosion. The images were obtained with the Swift satellite. They show how dramatically different galaxies can look in different wavelengths of light.

While the visible image (top) shows the smooth distribution of stars inside the galaxy, the ultraviolet image (middle) shows clumpy regions where stars are born. The X-ray image (bottom) shows the end-products of stars, such as compact objects (black holes and white dwarfs), the supernova explosion, and gas at temperatures of a few million degrees, where it gives off light in the X-ray range.

By looking at images like this, I often wonder how many other civilizations in this galaxy have made a picture of our own galaxy at the same time and wonder what life is like in our Milky Way galaxy.

Imagine the Universe is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The Imagine Team
Acting Project Leader: Dr. Barbara Mattson
All material on this site has been created and updated between 1997-2012.

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