The light echoes from SN1987A Academic Article uri icon


  • Direct imaging1,2 of supernova 1987A has revealed two semicircular arcs around the explosion site. Similar arcs around Nova Persei3,4 and Nova V732 Sagittarii5 have been explained as light echoes from the time of maximum luminosity of the outburst. Here we report the results of deep imaging and spectrophotometry of the arcs around SN1987A. The spectrophotometry verifies the nebular arcs as echoes of the light of SN1987A near maximum. The clouds must be at distances of 115 and 305 pc in front of SN1987A. We also observe an apparent proper motion for the inner echo of 1.8 arcsec per month which, at 16 times the speed of light, is highly superluminal. 1988 Nature Publishing Group.

published proceedings

  • Nature

author list (cited authors)

  • Suntzeff, N. B., Heathcote, S., Weller, W. G., Caldwell, N., Huchra, J. P., Olowin, R. P., & Chambers, K. C.

citation count

  • 32

complete list of authors

  • Suntzeff, NB||Heathcote, S||Weller, WG||Caldwell, N||Huchra, JP||Olowin, RP||Chambers, KC

publication date

  • July 1988

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