In the case of SN 2014J, the closest Type 1a supernova since SN 1972e, this is the perfect opportunity to further understand the mechanisms behind a phenomena that underpins our ability to understand the scale, age and expansion of the Universe. In 1998, astronomers made the groundbreaking discovery that a mysterious force was acting on the expansion of the Universe, dubbed "dark energy," and Type 1a supernovae were at the root of this revelation.
PHOTOS: Hubble's Sexiest Spiral Galaxies
In this new observation captured by Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3, the supernova has been superimposed over a photo mosaic of the entire M82 galaxy in 2006 taken with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys. This supernova portrait was acquired on Jan. 31, just as the explosion was reaching its peak in brightness.
As Hubble is sensitive to ultraviolet wavelengths of light, the impact of the supernova on the surrounding interstellar environment can be studied, building on our knowledge of these important stellar events and how they can impact their host galaxies.