This year saw the 30th anniversary of the discovery of SN 1987A
, the first nearby supernova since the invention of the telescope. The picture was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope earlier this year to mark the anniversary.
The supernova was seen on February 23, 1987, but remember that the Tarantula in the Large Magellanic Cloud is around 160,000 light years away. That means that the explosion actually happened thousands of years ago, but only recently did we get the evidence of it.
I remember being practically consumed with envy for those in the southern hemisphere that could see the supernova. However a trip to Australia didn't fit in with either my job or my budget!
Image credit: NASA, ESA, R. Kirshner, P. Challis, ESO/NAOJ/NRAO/A. Angelich, NASA/CXC/SAO.