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Spitzer View of Kepler's Supernova Remnant - SN 1604
Ssc2004 15a5

Credit: NASA/ESA/R. Sankrit and W. Blair (Johns Hopkins University)

Observation • October 6th, 2004 • ssc2004-15a5


This infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the expanding remains of a supernova, called Kepler's supernova remnant, first seen 400 years ago by sky watchers, including famous astronomer Johannes Kepler. The supernova remnant is a fast-moving shell of iron-rich material from an exploded star, surrounded by an expanding shock wave that is sweeping up interstellar gas and dust. The image reveals a bubble-shaped shroud of gas and dust that is 14 light-years wide and is expanding at 4 million miles per hour (2,000 kilometers per second).

The Spitzer telescope shows microscopic dust particles that have been heated by the supernova shock wave. The dust re-radiates the shock wave's energy as infrared light.

Kepler's supernova, the last such object seen to explode in our Milky Way galaxy, resides about 13,000 light-years away in the constellation Ophiuchus.

The Spitzer observations were taken in August 2004.

About the Object

Kepler's Supernova RemnantSN 1604
Nebula > Type > Supernova Remnant
Star > Evolutionary Stage > Supernova
13,000 Light Years

Color Mapping

Band Wavelength Telescope
Infrared 8.0 ┬Ám Spitzer IRAC


Position (J2000)
RA =17h 30m 41.5s
Dec = -21° 29' 31.2"
Field of View
5.0 x 5.0 arcminutes
North is 360.6° left of vertical