From NASA/Chandra: “G299.2-2.9: A Middle-Aged Supernova Remnant” 2011

NASA Chandra

G299.2-2.9 is a supernova remnant found about 16,000 light years from Earth in the Milky Way galaxy. It is the remains of a Type Ia supernova, the class of explosions astronomers use to measure the accelerating Universe and dark energy. High-mass stars are those that contain 8 times the Sun’s mass or more. Because it is older than most Type Ia remnants astronomers have found, G299.2-2.9 gives a look at how the remnants evolve over time.

comp
Composite

xray
X-Ray

infra
Infrared
Credit X-ray: NASA/CXC/U. Texas at Arlington/S.Park et al, ROSAT; Infrared: 2MASS/UMass/IPAC-Caltech/NASA/NSF
Release Date October 12, 2011
Instrument ACIS
NASA Chandra ACIS
ACIS

G299.2-2.9 is an intriguing supernova remnant found about 16,000 light years away in the Milky Way galaxy . Evidence points to G299.2-2.9 being the remains of a Type Ia supernova, where a white dwarf has grown sufficiently massive to cause a thermonuclear explosion. Because it is older than most supernova remnants caused by these explosions, at an age of about 4500 years, G299.2-2.9 provides astronomers with an excellent opportunity to study how these objects evolve over time. It also provides a probe of the Type Ia supernova explosion that produced this structure.

This composite image shows G299.2-2.9 in X-ray light from Chandra, along with data from the ROSAT satellite (orange), that has been overlaid on an infrared image from the Two Micron All-Sky Survey (2MASS). The faint X-ray emission from the inner region reveals relatively large amounts of iron and silicon, as expected for a remnant of a Type Ia supernova. The outer shell of the remnant is complex, with at least a double shell structure. Typically, such a complex outer shell is associated with a star that has exploded into space where gas and dust are not uniformly distributed.

NASA ROSAT staellite
NASA/ROSAT

Since most theories to explain Type Ia supernovas assume they go off in a uniform environment, detailed studies of this complicated outer shell should help astronomers improve their understanding of the environments where these explosions occur. It is very important to understand the details of Type Ia explosions because astronomers use them as cosmic mile markers to measure the accelerated expansion of the universe and study dark energy. The discovery of this accelerated expansion in the late 1990s led to the recent award of the Nobel Prize in Physics.

See the full article here.

Chandra X-ray Center, Operated for NASA by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory


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