The Evolving Universe

Smithsonian Institution

Tycho's Supernova Remnant

Tycho image

Credit: NASA/SAO/CXC,JPL-Caltech/MPIA

Observers: Jack Hughes, Kris Erikson, O. Krause

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In early November 1572, a bright new star suddenly appeared in the night sky. Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe observed the changes in the star's brightness until it faded from view 16 months later.

In 1952, new high-powered radio telescopes allowed astronomers to observe SN 1572 again. It was determined to be a supernova - the explosion of a dying star.

  • Distance from Earth: 10,000-16,000 light years
  • Size: 15-30 light years
  • Telescope: Chandra, Palomar Schmidt
  • Light: X-ray (yellow, green, blue), IR (red), Visible (white)