Astronomy

Space

image

It’s back. Never before has an observed #supernova been predicted. The #unique #astronomical event occurred in the field of galaxy cluster MACS J1149.5+2223. Most bright spots in the featured image are galaxies in this cluster. The actual supernova, dubbed Supernova Refsdal, occurred just once far across the #universe and well behind this massive galaxy cluster. #Gravity caused the cluster to act as a massive gravitational #lens, splitting the image of Supernova Refsdal into multiple bright images. One of these images arrived at Earth about ten years ago, likely in the upper #red circle, and was missed. Four more bright images peaked in April in the lowest red circle, spread around a massive galaxy in the cluster as the first #Einstein Cross #supernova. But there was more. Analyses revealed that a sixth bright supernova image was likely still on its way to #Earth and likely to arrive within the next year. Earlier this month — right on schedule — this sixth #bright image was recovered, in the middle red #circle, as predicted. Studying image sequences like this help humanity to understand how #matter is distributed in galaxies and clusters, how #fast the universe expands, and how #massive stars explode.

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