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The Case of the Missing Supernova Companion January 12, 2012

Posted by jtintle in Deep Space, Space Fotos.
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See Explanation. Moving the cursor over the image will bring up an annotated version. Clicking on the image will bring up the highest resolution version available.

Image Credit: 

X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/J. Hughes et al., Optical: NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team (STScI /AURA)

Explanation: 

Where’s the other star? At the center of this supernova remnant should be the companion star to the star that blew up. Identifying this star is important for understanding just how Type Ia supernova detonate, which in turn could lead to a better understanding of why the brightness of such explosions are so predictable, which in turn is key to calibrating the entire nature of our universe. The trouble is that even a careful inspection of the center of SNR 0509-67.5 has not found any star at all. This indicates that the companion is intrinsically very faint — much more faint that many types of bright giant stars that had been previous candidates. In fact, the implication is that the companion star might have to be a faint white dwarf, similar to — but less massive than — the star that detonated. SNR 0509-67.5 is shown above in both visible light, shining in red as imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope, and X-ray light, shown in false-color green as imaged by the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Putting your cursor over the picture will highlight the central required location for the missing companion star.

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A New View of Tycho’s Supernova Remnant March 11, 2009

Posted by jtintle in Deep Space, Space Fotos.
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Tycho's Supernova Remnant
Credit:

X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO, Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech; Optical: MPIA, Calar Alto, O.Krause et al.

Description:

This composite image of the Tycho supernova remnant combines X-ray and infrared observations obtained with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and Spitzer Space Telescope, respectively, and the Calar Alto observatory, Spain. It shows the scene more than four centuries after the brilliant star explosion witnessed by Tycho Brahe and other astronomers of that era.

The explosion has left a blazing hot cloud of expanding debris (green and yellow) visible in X-rays. The location of ultra-energetic electrons in the blast’s outer shock wave can also be seen in X-rays (the circular blue line). Newly synthesized dust in the ejected material and heated pre-existing dust from the area around the supernova radiate at infrared wavelengths of 24 microns (red). Foreground and background stars in the image are white.

Oliver Krause, from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Germany, recently studied reflected light from the supernova explosion seen by Brahe. Use of these “light echoes” – not shown in this figure – has confirmed previous suspicions that the explosion was a Type Ia supernova. This type of supernova is generally believed to be caused by the explosion of a white dwarf star in a binary star system.

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NASA Unveils First Images From Chandra X-Ray Observatory October 10, 2008

Posted by jtintle in Deep Space, Space Fotos.
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PKS 0637-752
Credit:

NASA/CXC/SAO

Description:

PKS 0637-752 is so distant that we see it as it was 6 billion years ago. It is a luminous quasar that radiates with the power of 10 trillion suns from a region smaller than our solar system. The source of this prodigious energy is believed to be a supermassive black hole.

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This is the first image posted by the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, on August 26, 1999.

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NGC 6543: The Cat’s Eye Nebula Redux August 3, 2008

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NGC 6543
Credit:

X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Optical: NASA/STScI

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This composite of data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and Hubble Space Telescope is a new look for NGC 6543, better known as the Cat’s Eye nebula. This famous object is a so-called planetary nebula that represents a phase of stellar evolution that the Sun should experience several billion years from now. When a star like the Sun begins to run out of fuel, it becomes what is known as a red giant. In this phase, a star sheds some of its outer layers, eventually leaving behind a hot core that collapses to form a dense white dwarf star. A fast wind emanating from the hot core rams into the ejected atmosphere, pushes it outward, and creates the graceful filamentary structures seen with optical telescopes.

Chandra’s X-ray data (colored in blue) of NGC 6543 shows that its central star is surrounded by a cloud of multi-million-degree gas. By comparing where the X-rays lie in relation to the structures seen in optical light by Hubble (red and purple), astronomers were able to deduce that the chemical abundances in the region of hot gas were like those in the wind from the central star and different from the outer cooler material. In the case of the Cat’s Eye, material shed by the star is flying away at a speed of about 4 million miles per hour. The star itself is expected to collapse to become a white dwarf star in a few million years.

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