National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

Large Quantity of Solid Particles in a Ring Shining in Space


Supernova 1987A

This image of 1987A is a composite combining radio waves, visible light, and X-rays. Radio wave observation results from ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) are shown in red; visible light observation results from the Hubble Space Telescope are shown in green; and results from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory are shown in blue. From the ALMA observation results we can see that solid particles, which emit strong radio waves, are concentrated in the center.

Where are Solid Particles Formed?

Many galaxies contain large quantities of solid particles. They are thought to be produced by the supernova explosions which occur at the end of stars’ lives. But until this image there had been no examples of solid particles being observed directly at the site of a supernova. Now with the high capabilities of ALMA, astronomers hope to elucidate many of the mysteries of solid particle formation.

For more details, please refer to the press release “ALMA Spots Supernova Dust Factory.”

Image Data

Dete2012 (ALMA, Chandra X-Ray Observatory), 2011 (Hubble Space Telescope)
ObjectSupernova 1987A
TelescopeALMA, Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-Ray Observatory
CreditALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/A. Angelich. Visible light image: the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. X-Ray image: The NASA Chandra X-Ray Observatory


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