The stellar explosion cataloged as
SN 2006gy shines
wide-field image (left) of its
host galaxy, NGC 1260,
and expanded view (upper right panel) of the region surrounding
the galaxy's core.
In fact, given its estimated distance of 240 million light-years,
SN 2006gy was brighter than, and has stayed brighter
any previously seen supernova.
The Chandra observations in the lower right panel establish
the supernova's x-ray brightness and lend strong
evidence to the theory that
2006gy was the death explosion of
a star well over 100 times as massive as the Sun.
In such an exceptionally massive star,
suspect an instability producing matter-antimatter
led to the cosmic blast and obliterated the stellar core.
Thus, unlike in other massive star supernovae, neither
Intriguingly, analogs in our own galaxy
for SN 2006gy's progenitor may include the
extremely massive star Eta Carinae.