On February 23, 1987, astronomers noticed a new source of light in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a small satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. Soon, scientists realized that this new beacon was, in fact, a spectacular explosion caused by the death of a massive star. It was a supernova. These 3D prints show the SN 1987A supernova remnant at its current observed age of 30 years, based on 3D simulations by Salvatore Orlando. The blast wave from the supernova has crashed into a pre-existing ring of gas, throwing blobs of this gas upwards and downwards. Small blobs of gas that were disconnected from other blobs or from the ring were removed from the model using 3D animation software for ease of printing.
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