Simeis 147

Roughly 3000 light years from us is this faint but dramatic supernova remnant. Simeis 147 is around 40,000 years old and is faint enough that it’s essentially invisible to the naked eye. Surprising then that these faint filaments of hydrogen, oxygen and sulfur take up a full 3 degrees of the sky (6 full moons).

40,000 years isn’t very long on astrophysical timescales. A reminder of how short lived these beautiful apparitions are. It’s easy to forget, after all, that the dramatic crab nebula is a mere 1000 years old…

Credit & Copyright: J-P Metsävainio

Image source: APOD

About Invader Xan

Molecular astrophysicist, usually found writing frenziedly, staring at the sky, or drinking mojitos.
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4 Responses to Simeis 147

  1. invaderxan says:

    Re: How do they photograph it?
    Unfortunately, I think it’s just too faint to see with the naked eye. It was probably rather dramatic a few thousand years ago though…

  2. Anonymous says:

    Re: How do they photograph it?
    It is beautiful though I do wonder what human eyes would see from a suitable location. Would it be visible at all? Or always too faint?

  3. invaderxan says:

    Re: How do they photograph it?
    How? Hmmm… I’m not an expert on imaging these things, though APOD says it’s a narrow band composite image of hydrogen, oxygen and sulfur emission. In other words, they’ve merged three images taken at specific frequencies emitted by those atoms (probably forbidden lines in a big nebulosity like that). Those images would probably need some fairly long exposure times though. Perhaps several hours for each image (though I’m not certain about the exposure times).
    It doesn’t say what instrument was used — though it’s quite wide field, so any good mid-sized telescope would probably be capable.
    I never quite got what the creationists were trying to argue with the “no old supernova remnants” thing. You’d have thought a nearby 4 billion year old star would make it fairly irrelevant…
    Ah, but it is a beautiful remnant, isn’t it? :)

  4. Anonymous says:

    How do they photograph it?
    Hi InvaderXan
    If it’s so big and so faint how do they get such a detailed image? From the HST? In near IR light? Nice to have such a spectacular example of an old SNR – contra what various idiotic Creationists have claimed in the past about their non-existence.

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