Spitzer View of Kepler's Supernova Remnant - SN 1604
Ssc2004 15b1

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

Observation • October 6th, 2004 • ssc2004-15b1


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 3.6 µm Spitzer IRAC
Infrared 4.5 µm Spitzer IRAC
Infrared 8.0 µm Spitzer IRAC
Infrared 24.0 µm Spitzer IRAC


Position (J2000)
RA =17h 30m 41.1s
Dec = -21° 29' 26.0"
Field of View
5.6 x 5.6 arcminutes
North is 2.6° right of vertical