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Supernovas & SNR
X-ray Astronomy Field Guide
Supernovas & SNR
Questions and Answers
Supernovas & SNR
Chandra Images
Supernovas & SNR
Animations & Video: Supernovas & Supernova Remnants
Click for high-resolution animation
1. Tour of G54.1+0.3
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only Data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Spitzer Space Telescope were combined to create this image of the dusty remains of a collapsed star. This object, known as G54.1+0.3, is a supernova remnant some 20,000 light years from Earth. The white object near the center of the image is a dense, rapidly-rotating neutron star called a pulsar that was left behind after the star collapsed. The pulsar generates a wind of high-energy particles, seen in the Chandra data, that expands into the surrounding environment, illuminating the material ejected in the supernova explosion. This infrared data shows a shell of dust and gas that's being dispersed back into space where it one day may become part of a new generation of stars and planets.
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(X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/T.Temim et al.; IR: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
2. Animation of Merger Trigger for Supernova
QuicktimeMPEG This animation shows the main way that new Chandra results indicate Type Ia supernova are triggered in elliptical galaxies. Two white dwarf stars orbit each other and lose energy via gravitational radiation, eventually resulting in a merger between the two stars. Because the total mass of this merger exceeds the weight limit for a white dwarf, the merged star is unstable and explodes as a Type Ia supernova.
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View Stills
(NASA/CXC/A.Hobart)

Related Chandra Images:
  • Photo Album: M31

Click for high-resolution animation
3. Images of Cosmic Cannonball
QuicktimeMPEG This sequence begins with a wide-field CTIO optical image which then combines with an X-ray image from the ROSAT observatory of Puppis A, the debris field created when a massive star exploded at the end of its life. The next image from Chandra shows the close-up view of the small, dense object, known as a "neutron star", left behind after the explosion. Chandra observations from 1999 and 2005 clearly show that the neutron star has moved over a period of five years. Astronomers calculate this neutron star is traveling at about 3 million miles per hour and is destined to exit the Galaxy million of years from now.
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(Chandra: NASA/CXC/Middlebury College/F.Winkler et al.; ROSAT: NASA/GSFC/S.Snowden et al.; Optical: NOAO/AURA/NSF/Middlebury College/F.Winkler et al.)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
4. Chandra Comparison of Type Ia Supernova Remnants
QuicktimeMPEG This sequence compares the Chandra image of Kepler's SNR with the Chandra images of 3 Type Ia supernova remnants located in the Milky Way. The X-ray emission for Kepler's remnant contains a bright central region similar to DEM L238, while the X-ray emission for Tycho's remnant and SN 1006 are generally much more uniform. These results suggest that the stars that exploded and caused the Kepler and DEM L238 supernova remnants were much younger than the stars that produced the Tycho and SN 1006 remnants.
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(X-ray: NASA/CXC/NCSU/S.Reynolds et al; Optical: DSS)

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Click for high-resolution animation
5. Chandra's Kepler Image from Optical View
QuicktimeMPEG This sequence begins with an optical view of the region containing the Kepler supernova remnant. After zooming in, Chandra's X-ray image appears, showing the dramatic difference between what is seen in various wavelengths.
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(X-ray: NASA/CXC/NCSU/S.Reynolds et al; Optical: DSS)

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Click for high-resolution animation
6. Comparison of Type Ia Supernovas
QuicktimeMPEG This sequence compares the Chandra image of DEM L238 with the Chandra image of 3 Type Ia supernova remnants located in the Milky Way. The X-ray emission for Kepler's remnant contains a bright central region similar to DEM L238, while the X-ray emission for Tycho's remnant and SN 1006 are generally much more uniform. These results suggest that the stars that exploded and caused the DEM L238 and Kepler supernova remnants were much younger than the stars that produced the Tycho and SN 1006 remnants.
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(NASA/CXC)

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Click for high-resolution animation
7. Images of DEM L238 and DEM L249
QuicktimeMPEG The sequence shows an optical image and then a composite of Chandra X-ray data (blue) and optical data (white) of DEM L238 and DEM L249, two supernova remnants in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The view then shows how DEM L238 appears in the three bands of X-ray emission (low-energy X-rays in red, medium energies in green and high energies in blue). The central region of DEM L238 is green which indicates that it is rich in iron, identifying it as a Type Ia supernova that came from the explosion of a much younger star than expected.
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(X-ray: NASA/CXC/NCSU/K.Borkowski; Optical: NOAO/CTIO/MCELS)

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Click for high-resolution animation
8. Tour of M31
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only This image of M31 represents a study of six elliptical galaxies that Chandra made to determine what causes an important type of supernova. At the heart of M31, also known as the Andromeda Galaxy, Chandra detects X-rays. The X-ray glow is partially caused by the aftermath of exploded stars known as supernovas. By examining the properties of the X-rays, scientists have figured out that one class of supernovas in these galaxies, known as Type Ia, are caused when two white dwarf stars merge. Understanding how Type Ia supernovas are triggered is important, since these objects are used to measure vast distances across the cosmos.
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(X-ray (NASA/CXC/MPA/M.Gilfanov & A.Bogdan), Infrared (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSC), Optical (DSS))

Related Chandra Images:
  • Photo Album: M31

Click for high-resolution animation
9. Tour of Crab Nebula
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only The Crab Nebula is one of the most studied objects in the night sky. First observed by Chinese astronomers in 1054 A.D., and possibly others, this supernova remnant and its neutron star have become favorite targets for amateur and professional astronomers alike. This version of the Crab Nebula combines data from three different telescopes. X-ray data from Chandra, in light blue, show the super-dense neutron star that is the core of the exploded star, which is shooting a blizzard of high-energy particles into the expanding debris field. This super-energetic outflow is striking the cooler gas and dust seen in optical data from Hubble as well as infrared light from Spitzer. The Crab Nebula contains incredibly intriguing science, and provides perhaps one of the most stunning images in all of astronomy.
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(X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/F.Seward; Optical: NASA/ESA/ASU/J.Hester & A.Loll; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. Minn./R.Gehrz)

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Click for high-resolution animation
10. Tour of Cassiopeia A
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only Cassiopeia A is a supernova remnant found embedded in the constellation that bears its name, which is known as the queen in Greek mythology. Along with virtually all modern telescopes, the Chandra X-ray Observatory has devoted a great deal of time to examine this aftermath of an exploded star. The latest results from Chandra reveal new details about the neutron star, which is the ultra-dense core of the star that exploded. For the first time, astronomers have determined that this stellar nub has an incredibly thin atmosphere of carbon on its surface. This is an important clue in deducing the true nature of this mysterious source which lies at the center of one of astronomy's most famous objects.
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(X-ray: NASA/CXC/Southampton/W. Ho et al.; Illustration: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss.)

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