McCray, Richard Astrophysics and Planetary Science, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado.
Last reviewed:March 2019
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- Chronology of discovery and evolution
- Circumstellar matter
- From supernova to supernova remnant
- Nature of compact object
- Future behavior
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The closest and brightest supernova observed since the invention of telescope more than four centuries ago. Supernova 1987A (designated SN 1987A for short) is the nearest supernova to Earth since German astronomer Johannes Kepler documented a naked-eye supernova in 1604. The first supernova to be initially detected by its burst of neutrinos, SN 1987A is also the first supernova subsequently observed in every band of the electromagnetic spectrum. A watershed event in astrophysics, SN 1987A has afforded scientists the best opportunity to date to study the phases of a massive star's death, rigorously test modern supernova theories, and gain critical insights into the properties of neutrinos (Fig. 1). See also: Astronomy; Neutrino; Neutrino astronomy; Star; Stellar evolution; Supernova; Telescope
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