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Hubble spots remains of a supernova humans saw explode 1700 years ago

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The opening years of the Fourth Century saw work begin on St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, and the astronomer Pappus of Alexandria wrote details of his observation of an eclipse of the Sun. In the southern hemisphere, a star was seen erupting within a small, fuzzy patch of the night sky.

Unfortunately, no records survived telling of this celestial event south of the equator. However, astronomers have now turned the mighty gaze of the Hubble Space Telescope to examine the remnants of this titanic explosion, called 1E 0102.2–729. By studying the cloud of gas and dust left behind, astronomers hope to piece together the story of the eruption that created this magnificent nebula.