Astronomers are astounded by an X-ray flash, the birth of a supernova

Email a Friend
From and

For the first time, scientists have witnessed the birth of a supernova. Heidi Hammel with the Space Science Institute tells us more.

Swift took these images of SN 2007uy in galaxy NGC 2770 before SN 2008D exploded. An X-ray image is on top. The lower image is in visible light. Image:NASA/Swift Science Team/Stefan ImmlerOn January 9 Swift caught a bright X-ray burst from an exploding star. A few days later, SN 2008D appeared in visible light. Image: NASA/Swift Science Team/Stefan Immler

On the left: 'Before' images show a previously known supernova, SN 2007uy, in galaxy NGC 2770.

On the right: An X-ray image taken on January 9, 2008, captures a moment of a 5-minute-long burst, indicating the creation of a new supernova, SN 2008D. The exploded star became visible to regular photography a few days later.

Image credit: NASA/Swift Science Team/Stefan Immler