It was 1987A. Take a look at it now, if you have a web server, at
http://www.stsci.edu/pubinfo/Subject.html#Novae. It has produced
two bright red rings, like a neon sign that says "OoO".
Just to tweak your interest, I will quote from the press release:
"The Hubble images of the rings are quite spectacular and
unexpected," says Dr. Chris Burrows of the European Space Agency
and the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.
Burrows used Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 to image the
rings in February 1994.
The striking Hubble picture actually shows three rings. The
smaller "center" ring of the trio was seen previously. The larger
pair of outer rings were also seen in ground-based images, but the
interpretation was not possible until the higher resolution Hubble
Though all of the rings probably are inclined to our view (so that
they appear to intersect), they probably are in three different
planes. The small bright ring lies in a plane containing the
supernova; the two rings lie in front and behind it.
To create the beams illuminating the outer rings, the remnant would
need to be a compact object such as a black hole or neutron star
with a nearby companion. Material falling from the companion onto
the compact object would be heated and blasted back into space
along two narrow jets, along with a beam of radiation. As the
compact object spins it might wobble or precess about its axis,
like a child's top winding down. The twin beam would then trace out
great circles like jets of water from a spinning lawn sprinkler.
If the rings are caused by a jet, however, the beams are extremely
narrow (collimated to within one degree). This leads Burrows to
conclude: "This is an unprecedented and bizarre object. We have
never seen anything behave like this before."
Paul Arveson, Research Physicist
(301) 227-3831 (W) (301) 227-1914 (FAX) (301) 816-9459 (H)
Code 724, NSWC, Bethesda, MD 20084