eso9401 — Science Release
Things Begin to Happen Around Supernova 1987A
27 January 1994: On 23 February 1994, it will be exactly seven years since the explosion of Supernova 1987A in the Large Magellanic Cloud  was first observed, at a distance of approx. 160,000 light-years. It was the first naked-eye supernova to be seen in almost four hundred years. Few events in modern astronomy have met with such an enthusiastic response by the scientists and this famous object has been under constant surveillance ever since. After several years of relative quiescence, things are now beginning to happen in the immediate neighbourhood of SN 1987A. Recent observations with the ESO 3.5 m New Technology Telescope (NTT) indicate that interaction between the stellar material which was ejected during the explosion and the surrounding ring-shaped nebulae has started. This signals the beginning of a more active phase during which the supernova is likely to display a number of new and interesting phenomena, never before observed.