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G352.7-0.1: Supernova Cleans Up its Surroundings

  • A supernova remnant is created when a massive star runs out of fuel and explodes with an expanding debris field.

  • Astronomers have found a supernova remnant that is sweeping up material weighing about 45 times the mass of the Sun as it expands.

  • The supernova remnant is called G352.7-0.1 and is located about 24,000 light years from Earth.

  • A new composite image shows G352.7-0.1 in X-rays, radio, infrared, and optical data.

Supernovas are the spectacular ends to the lives of many massive stars. These explosions, which occur on average twice a century in the Milky Way, can produce enormous amounts of energy and be as bright as an entire galaxy. These events are also important because the remains of the shattered star are hurled into space. As this debris field - called a supernova remnant - expands, it carries the material it encounters along with it.

The supernova remnant G352.7-0.1 (or, G352 for short) - has swept up material equivalent to about 45 times the mass of the Sun, as it expands. Although this is not an exceptionally large amount, astronomers have found that several other properties of the supernova remnant are unusual. First, they found that this supernova remnant has a very different shape in radio data compared to that in X-rays. Most of the radio emission is shaped like an ellipse, contrasting with the X-ray emission that fills in the center of the radio ellipse. This is seen in a new composite image of G352 that contains X-rays from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory in blue and radio data from the National Science Foundation's Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array in pink. These data have also been combined with infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope in orange, and optical data from the Digitized Sky Survey in white. (The infrared emission to the upper left and lower right are not directly related to the supernova remnant.)

A recent study suggests that, surprisingly, the X-ray emission in G352 is dominated by the hotter (about 30 million degrees Celsius) debris from the explosion, rather than cooler (about 2 million degrees) emission from surrounding material that has been swept up by the expanding shock wave. This is curious because astronomers estimate that G352 exploded about 2,200 years ago, and supernova remnants of this age usually produce X-rays that are dominated by swept-up material. Scientists are still trying to come up with an explanation for this behavior.

Astronomers also conducted a search for a neutron star that may have been produced by the supernova explosion. They did not find any hints of a neutron star in G352, another astronomical puzzle involved with this system. One possibility is simply that the neutron star is too faint to be detected or that the supernova created a black hole instead.

G352 is found about 24,000 light years from Earth in the Milky Way galaxy. A paper describing these enigmatic results was published in the February 20th, 2014 issue of The Astrophysical Journal, and is available online. The first author of this paper is Thomas Pannuti from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, with co-authors Oleg Kargaltsev (George Washington University), Jared Napier (Morehead State), and Derek Brehm (George Washington).

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Mass., controls Chandra's science and flight operations.


Fast Facts for G352.7-0.1:
Credit  X-ray: NASA/CXC/Morehead State Univ/T.Pannuti et al.; Optical: DSS; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech; Radio: NRAO/VLA/Argentinian Institute of Radioastronomy/G.Dubner
Release Date  April 10, 2014
Scale  Image is about 14.5 arcmin across (about 1,000 light years)
Category  Supernovas & Supernova Remnants
Coordinates (J2000)  RA 17h 27m 41.00s | Dec -35° 06´ 45.00"
Constellation  Scorpius
Observation Date  06 Oct 2004
Observation Time  12 hours 23 min
Obs. ID  4652
Instrument  ACIS
References Pannuti, T. et al. 2014, ApJ 782, 102; arXiv:1401.6603
Color Code  X-ray (Blue); Optical (Grayscale); Infrared (Orange); Radio (Pink)
Distance Estimate  24,000 light years
distance arrow
Visitor Comments (8)

Was the original phenomenon observed 2,200 years ago?

Posted by JFHill on Thursday, 10.27.16 @ 11:47am

Dear Clive Fetter,
Thanks for your very good question. That radio signal comes from two background radio sources called WBH2005 352.775-0.153
and WBH2005 352.772-0.149 that are thought to be associated with a supermassive black hole in a distant galaxy. This means they do not have anything to do with the supernova remnant that is the subject of this image release. In case you're interested, here's the reference for the paper describing these sources:

Posted by CXC on Wednesday, 05.7.14 @ 11:29am

What is the curious bubble of radio signals on the left middle of the image? It doesn't seem to emanate from any of the X-ray objects in the field.

Posted by Clive Fetter on Sunday, 04.27.14 @ 10:17am

Highly impressed by the recent phenomena of your spacial investigations.

Posted by Gyorgy Szara on Monday, 04.21.14 @ 07:48am

So in other words a black hole is closer then assumed. wow I love NASA.

Posted by niag on Friday, 04.18.14 @ 07:13am

Nice picture.

Posted by iqbal on Saturday, 04.12.14 @ 12:24pm


Posted by iqbal on Saturday, 04.12.14 @ 12:23pm

Any clue as to what the bright light I saw glow then fade was on the night of April 10, 2014 It was towards the western sky at about 11 49 pm CST.

Posted by Michele on Saturday, 04.12.14 @ 10:38am

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