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Tycho's Supernova Remnant: A New View of Tycho's Supernova Remnant
Tycho's Supernova Remnant


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.

Fast Facts for Tycho's Supernova Remnant:
Credit  X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO, Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech; Optical: MPIA, Calar Alto, O.Krause et al.
Release Date  February 18, 2009
Scale  Image is 15.5 arcmin across.
Category  Supernovas & Supernova Remnants
Coordinates (J2000)  RA | Dec
Constellation  Cassiopeia
Observation Date  29 Apr 2003
Observation Time  41 hours
Obs. ID  3837
Instrument  ACIS
Also Known As G120.1+01.4, SN 1572
Color Code  X-ray: Yellow, Green, Blue; Infrared: Red; Optical: White stars
IR
Optical
X-ray
Distance Estimate  About 13,000 light years
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