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  • richardmitnick 4:49 am on April 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , NASA Chandra   

    From NASA/Chandra: “Rosette Nebula: The Heart of a Rose” 2010 

    NASA Chandra

    The Rosette Nebula is a star-forming region about 5,000 light years from Earth. X-rays from Chandra reveal about 160 stars in the cluster known as NGC 2237 (right side of the image).
    Combining X-ray and optical data, astronomers determined that the central cluster formed first, followed by neighboring ones including NGC 2237.

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    X-ray (NASA/CXC/SAO/J. Wang et al), Optical (DSS & NOAO/AURA/NSF/KPNO 0.9-m/T. Rector et al)
    Release Date September 08, 2010

    This composite image shows the Rosette star formation region, located about 5,000 light years from Earth. Data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory are colored red and outlined by a white line. The X-rays reveal hundreds of young stars clustered in the center of the image and additional fainter clusters on either side. These clusters are labeled in the X-ray only image, where they are more obvious to the eye. Optical data from the [Sloan]Digitized Sky Survey and the Kitt Peak National Observatory (purple, orange, green and blue) show large areas of gas and dust, including giant pillars that remain behind after intense radiation from massive stars has eroded the more diffuse gas.

    A recent Chandra study of the cluster on the right side of the image, named NGC 2237, provides the first probe of the low-mass stars in this satellite cluster. Previously only 36 young stars had been discovered in NGC 2237, but the Chandra work has increased this sample to about 160 stars. The presence of several X-ray emitting stars around the pillars and the detection of an outflow — commonly associated with very young stars — originating from a dark area of the optical image indicates that star formation is continuing in NGC 2237 (the outflow and some of the pillars are labeled in a close-up view). By combining these results with earlier studies, the scientists conclude that the central cluster formed first, followed by expansion of the nebula, which triggered the formation of the neighboring clusters, including NGC 2237.

    NOAO Kitt Peak
    NOAO Kitt Peak Observatory

    Another view
    rosette
    No source given

    See the full article here.

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


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  • richardmitnick 4:21 am on April 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From NASA/Chandra- “J0617 in IC 443: The Case of the Neutron Star With a Wayward Wake” 2006 

    NASA Chandra

    This wide-field composite image was made with X-ray (blue/ROSAT & Chandra), radio (green/Very Large Array), and optical (red/Digitized Sky Survey) observations of the supernova remnant, IC 443. The pullout, also a composite with a Chandra X-ray close-up, shows a neutron star that is spewing out a comet-like wake of high-energy particles as it races through space.

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    Credit Chandra X-ray: NASA/CXC/B.Gaensler et al; ROSAT X-ray: NASA/ROSAT/Asaoka & Aschenbach; Radio Wide: NRC/DRAO/D.Leahy; Radio Detail: NRAO/VLA; Optical: [S]DSS

    Release Date June 01, 2006

    Based on an analysis of the swept-back shape of the wake, astronomers deduced that the neutron star known as CXOU J061705.3+222127, or J0617 for short, is moving through the multimillion degree Celsius gas in the remnant. However, this conclusion poses a mystery.

    Although there are other examples where neutron stars have been located far away from the center of the supernova remnant, these neutron stars appear to be moving radially away from the center of the remnant. In contrast, the wake of J0617 seems to indicate it is moving almost perpendicularly to that direction.

    One possible explanation is that the doomed progenitor star was moving at a high speed before it exploded, so that the explosion site was not at the observed center of the supernova remnant. Fast-moving gusts of gas inside the supernova remnant may have further pushed the pulsar’s wake out of alignment. An analogous situation is observed for comets, where a wind of particles from the Sun pushes the comet tail away from the Sun, out of alignment with the comet’s motion.

    If this is what is happening, then observations of the neutron star with Chandra in the next 10 years should show a detectable motion away from the center of the supernova remnant.

    Another view
    ic443a
    Part of the northeastern shell of IC 443, aka the Jellyfish Nebula. Credit: Jean-Charles Cuillandre (CFHT)and Giovanni Anselmi (Coelum astronomia), Hawaiian Starlight, CFHT.

    See the full article here.

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


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  • richardmitnick 8:41 am on April 18, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From NASA/Chandra: “Hydra A: Black Hole Pumps Iron” 2009 

    NASA Chandra

    Hydra A is a galaxy cluster about 840 million light years from Earth. Evidence for powerful outbursts from the supermassive black hole at the center are seen in the Chandra data. The Chandra data show jets of material from the black hole are enriched with iron and other metals

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    Credit X-ray: NASA/CXC/U.Waterloo/C.Kirkpatrick et al.; Radio: NSF/NRAO/VLA; Optical: Canada-France-Hawaii-Telescope/DSS
    Release Date September 14, 2009

    This composite image of the Hydra A galaxy cluster shows 10-million-degree gas observed by Chandra in blue and jets of radio emission observed by the Very Large Array in pink. Optical data (in yellow) from the Canada-France-Hawaii telescope and the Digitized Sky Survey shows galaxies in the cluster.

    Detailed analysis of the Chandra data shows that the gas located along the direction of the radio jets is enhanced in iron and other metals. Scientists think these elements have been produced by Type Ia supernova explosions in the large galaxy at the center of the cluster. A powerful outburst from the supermassive black hole then pushed the material outwards, over distances extending for almost 400,000 light years, extending beyond the region shown in this image. About 10 to 20 percent of the iron in the galaxy has been displaced, requiring a few percent of the total energy produced by the central black hole.

    Outbursts from the central, supermassive black hole have not only pushed elements outwards, but have created a series of cavities in the hot gas. As these jets blasted through the galaxy into the surrounding multimillion-degree intergalactic gas, they pushed the hot gas aside to create the cavities. A relatively recent outburst created a pair of cavities visible as dark regions in the Chandra image located around the radio emission. These cavities are so large they would be able to contain the entire Milky Way galaxy, but they are dwarfed by even larger cavities — too faint to be visible in this image – created by earlier, more powerful outbursts from the black hole. The largest of these cavities is immense, extending for about 670,000 light years.

    See the full article here.

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


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  • richardmitnick 3:20 pm on April 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From NASA/Chandra: “G352.7-0.1: Supernova Cleans Up its Surroundings” 

    NASA Chandra

    04/10/2014
    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 a remarkable amount of material 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.

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    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

    argen
    Twin 30 m telescopes at the IAR.

    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.

    Astronomers have identified a supernova remnant that has several unusual properties. First, they found that this supernova remnant – known as G352.7-0.1 (or, G352 for short) – has swept up a remarkable amount of material, equivalent to about 45 times the mass of the Sun.

    Another atypical trait of G352 is that it 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.)

    NRAO VLA
    NRAO Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array

    NASA Spitzer Telescope
    NASA/Spitzer

    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.

    Although it does not produce a lot of X-ray emission, the amount of material – the aforementioned 45 times the Sun’s mass – swept up by G352 is remarkably high for a supernova remnant located in our Galaxy. This may indicate that a special type of evolution has occurred, in which the massive star that exploded to create G352 interacted with an extraordinary amount of dense surrounding material.

    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).

    See the full article here.

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


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  • richardmitnick 8:23 pm on April 8, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From NASA/Chandra: “RCW 86: All Eyes on Oldest Recorded Supernova” 2011 


    NASA Chandra

    Four space telescopes – Chandra, XMM-Newton, Spitzer, and WISE – combined to make a new discovery on a very old supernova remnant. Chinese astronomers witnessed an event in that location in 185 AD, documenting a mysterious “guest star” that remained for 8 months. The new data show that RCW 86 was created by a Type Ia supernova explosion. This type of supernova is caused when a white dwarf pulls material from a companion star until a thermonuclear reaction occurs.

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    This image combines data from four different space telescopes to create a multi-wavelength view of all that remains of the oldest documented example of a supernova, called RCW 86. The Chinese witnessed the event in 185 A.D., documenting a mysterious “guest star” that remained in the sky for eight months. X-ray images from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton Observatory are combined to form the blue and green colors in the image. The X-rays show the interstellar gas that has been heated to millions of degrees by the passage of the shock wave from the supernova.

    Infrared data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, as well as NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) are shown in yellow and red, and reveal dust radiating at a temperature of several hundred degrees below zero, warm by comparison to normal dust in our Milky Way galaxy.

    By studying the X-ray and infrared data together, astronomers were able to determine that the cause of the explosion witnessed nearly 2,000 years ago was a Type Ia supernova, in which an otherwise-stable white dwarf, or dead star, was pushed beyond the brink of stability when a companion star dumped material onto it. Furthermore, scientists used the data to solve another mystery surrounding the remnant — how it got to be so large in such a short amount of time. By blowing a wind prior to exploding, the white dwarf was able to clear out a huge “cavity,” a region of very low-density surrounding the system. The explosion into this cavity was able to expand much faster than it otherwise would have.

    This is the first time that this type of cavity has been seen around a white dwarf system prior to explosion. Scientists say the results may have significant implications for theories of white-dwarf binary systems and Type Ia supernovae.

    RCW 86 is approximately 8,000 light-years away. At about 85 light-years in diameter, it occupies a region of the sky in the southern constellation of Circinus that is slightly larger than the full moon.

    ESA XMM Newton
    ESA XMM-Newton

    NASA Spitzer Telescope
    NASA/Spitzer

    NASA Wise Telescope
    NASA/WISE

    See the full article here.

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


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  • richardmitnick 9:13 am on April 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From NASA/Chandra: “RX J1131-1231: Chandra & XMM-Newton Provide Direct Measurement of Distant Black Hole’s Spin” 2009 

    NASA Chandra

    Astronomers have directly measured the spin of a supermassive black hole in a quasar that is located 6 billion light years away. This is the most distant black hole where such a measurement has been made. Black holes are defined by just two simple characteristics: mass and spin. Finding out how quickly black holes are spinning reveals important information about how they grow over time.

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    Credit X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ of Michigan/R.C.Reis et al; Optical: NASA/STScI
    Release Date March 5, 2014

    Multiple images of a distant quasar are visible in this combined view from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope. The Chandra data, along with data from ESA’s XMM-Newton, were used to directly measure the spin of the supermassive black hole powering this quasar. This is the most distant black hole where such a measurement has been made, as reported in our press release.

    NASA Hubble Telescope
    NASA/ESA Hubble

    ESA XMM Newton
    ESA XMM-Newton

    Gravitational lensing by an intervening elliptical galaxy has created four different images of the quasar, shown by the Chandra data in pink. Such lensing, first predicted by [Albert] Einstein, offers a rare opportunity to study regions close to the black hole in distant quasars, by acting as a natural telescope and magnifying the light from these sources. The Hubble data in red, green and blue shows the elliptical galaxy in the middle of the image, along with other galaxies in the field.

    The quasar is known as RX J1131-1231 (RX J1131 for short) , located about 6 billion light years from Earth. Using the gravitational lens, a high quality X-ray spectrum – that is, the amount of X-rays seen at different energies – of RX J1131 was obtained.

    The X-rays are produced when a swirling accretion disk of gas and dust that surrounds the black hole creates a multimillion-degree cloud, or corona near the black hole. X-rays from this corona reflect off the inner edge of the accretion disk. The reflected X-ray spectrum is altered by the strong gravitational forces near the black hole. The larger the change in the spectrum, the closer the inner edge of the disk must be to the black hole.

    The authors of the new study found that the X-rays are coming from a region in the disk located only about three times the radius of the event horizon, the point of no return for infalling matter. This implies that the black hole must be spinning extremely rapidly to allow a disk to survive at such a small radius.

    This result is important because black holes are defined by just two simple characteristics: mass and spin. While astronomers have long been able to measure black hole masses very effectively, determining their spins have been much more difficult.

    These spin measurements can give researchers important clues about how black holes grow over time. If black holes grow mainly from collisions and mergers between galaxies they should accumulate material in a stable disk, and the steady supply of new material from the disk should lead to rapidly spinning black holes. In contrast if black holes grow through many small accretion episodes, they will accumulate material from random directions. Like a merry go round that is pushed both backwards and forwards, this would make the black hole spin more slowly.

    The discovery that space-time at the black hole’s event horizon is spinning at over half the speed of light suggests that RX J1131, observed at a distance of six billion light years, corresponding to an age about 7.7 billion years after the Big Bang, has grown via mergers, rather than pulling material in from different directions.

    These results were published online in the journal Nature. The lead author is Rubens Reis of the University of Michigan. His co-authors are Mark Reynolds and Jon M. Miller, also of Michigan, as well as Dominic Walton of the California Institute of Technology.

    See the full article here.

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


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  • richardmitnick 7:21 pm on March 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From NASA/Chandra: “N63A: Celestial Illumination: The X-Ray Glow From An Exploded Star” 2003 

    NASA Chandra

    Chandra has imaged the glowing shell created by the destruction of a massive star. X-rays from Chandra (blue), combined with optical (green) and radio (red) data, reveal new details in the supernova remnant known as N63A, located in the nearby galaxy of the Large Magellanic Cloud.

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    Credit X-ray: NASA/CXC/Rutgers/J.Warren et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI/U. Ill/Y.Chu; Radio: ATCA/U. Ill/J.Dickel et al.
    Release Date December 19, 2003

    Also available:

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    Large at left, from Spitzer, CTIO, and Chandra. Upper right, Chandra. Lower right Hubble. No other data supplied.

    The X-ray glow is from material heated to about ten million degrees Celsius by a shock wave generated by the supernova explosion. The age of the remnant is estimated to be in the range of 2,000 to 5,000 years.

    Optical and radio light are brightest in the central region of the remnant, which appears as a triangular-shaped “hole” in the X-ray image. The hole is produced by absorption of X-rays in a dense cloud of cooler gas and dust on the side of the remnant nearest the Earth. A comparison of the X-ray image with the radio and optical images suggests that the shock wave is engulfing this massive cloud, so we see only the edge nearest the Earth. Collisions such as this are thought to trigger the formation of new generations of stars.

    The fluffy crescent-shaped X-ray features that appear around the edge of the remnant are thought to be fragments of high-speed matter shot out from the star when it exploded, like shrapnel from a bomb. In the only other supernova remnant (the Vela supernova remnant) where such features have been observed, the crescent shapes are clearly produced by ejecta fragments. An alternative explanation is that they were produced when the shock wave swept over less-massive clouds located several light years away from the site of the explosion.

    See the full article here.

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


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  • richardmitnick 2:03 pm on March 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From NASA/Chandra: “DEM L241: Hardy Star Survives Supernova Blast” 

    NASA Chandra

    Astronomers have found evidence for a companion star that survived the blast of a supernova explosion. Chandra’s X-rays reveal a point-like source within the debris field produced when a massive star exploded. This system contains either a neutron star or black hole and a surviving massive star. The supernova remnant is called DEM L241 and is found in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small neighboring galaxy to the Milky Way.

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    Credit X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/F.Seward et al; Optical: NOAO/CTIO/MCELS, DSS
    Release Date March 20, 2014
    Instrument ACIS
    NASA Chandra ACIS
    ACIS

    When a massive star runs out fuel, it collapses and explodes as a supernova. Although these explosions are extremely powerful, it is possible for a companion star to endure the blast. A team of astronomers using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes has found evidence for one of these survivors.

    This hardy star is in a stellar explosion’s debris field – also called its supernova remnant - located in an HII region called DEM L241. An HII (pronounced “H-two”) region is created when the radiation from hot, young stars strips away the electrons from neutral hydrogen atoms (HI) to form clouds of ionized hydrogen (HII). This HII region is located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small companion galaxy to the Milky Way.

    A new composite image of DEM L241 contains Chandra data (purple) that outlines the supernova remnant. The remnant remains hot and therefore X-ray bright for thousands of years after the original explosion occurred. Also included in this image are optical data from the Magellanic Cloud Emission Line Survey (MCELS) taken from ground-based telescopes in Chile (yellow and cyan), which trace the HII emission produced by DEM L241. Additional optical data from the Digitized Sky Survey (white) are also included, showing stars in the field.

    R. Davies, K. Elliott, and J. Meaburn, whose last initials were combined to give the object the first half of its name, first mapped DEM L241 in 1976. The recent data from Chandra revealed the presence of a point-like X-ray source at the same location as a young massive star within DEM L241′s supernova remnant.

    Astronomers can look at the details of the Chandra data to glean important clues about the nature of X-ray sources. For example, how bright the X-rays are, how they change over time, and how they are distributed across the range of energy that Chandra observes.

    In this case, the data suggest that the point-like source is one component of a binary star system. In such a celestial pair, either a neutron star or black hole (formed when the star went supernova) is in orbit with a star much larger than our Sun. As they orbit one another, the dense neutron star or black hole pulls material away its companion star through the wind of particles that flows away from its surface. If this result is confirmed, DEM L241 would be only the third binary containing both a massive star and a neutron star or black hole ever found in the aftermath of a supernova.

    Chandra’s X-ray data also show that the inside of the supernova remnant is enriched in oxygen, neon and magnesium. This enrichment and the presence of the massive star imply that the star that exploded had a mass greater than 25 times, to perhaps up to 40 times, that of the Sun.

    Optical observations with the South African Astronomical Observatory’s 1.9-meter telescope show the velocity of the massive star is changing and that it orbits around the neutron star or black hole with a period of tens of days. A detailed measurement of the velocity variation of the massive companion star should provide a definitive test of whether or not the binary contains a black hole.

    SAAO Telescope
    SAAO 1.9-meter telescope

    Indirect evidence already exists that other supernova remnants were formed by the collapse of a star to form a black hole. However, if the collapsed star in DEM L241 turns out to be a black hole, it would provide the strongest evidence yet for such a catastrophic event.

    What does the future hold for this system? If the latest thinking is correct, the surviving massive star will be destroyed in a supernova explosion some millions of years from now. When it does, it may form a binary system containing two neutron stars or a neutron star and a black hole, or even a system with two black holes.

    A paper describing these results is available online and was published in the November 10, 2012 issue of The Astrophysical Journal. The authors are Fred Seward of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, MA; P. Charles from University of Southampton, UK; D. Foster from the South African Astronomical Observatory in Cape Town, South Africa; J. Dickel and P. Romero from University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, NM; Z. Edwards, M. Perry and R. Williams from Columbus State University in Columbus, GA.

    See the full article here.

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


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  • richardmitnick 1:29 pm on March 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    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.

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    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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  • richardmitnick 5:49 am on March 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From NASA/Chandra: “Cartwheel Galaxy: Astronomers Do Flips Over Cartwheel Galaxy” 2006 

    NASA Chandra

    This image combines data from four different observatories: the Chandra X-ray Observatory (purple); the Galaxy Evolution Explorer satellite (ultraviolet/blue); the Hubble Space Telescope (visible/green); the Spitzer Space Telescope (infrared/red). The unusual shape of the Cartwheel Galaxy is likely due to a collision with one of the smaller galaxies on the lower left several hundred million years ago.

    NASA Galaxy Telescope
    GALEX

    NASA Hubble Telescope
    Hubble

    NASA Spitzer Telescope
    Spitzer

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    Credit Composite: NASA/JPL/Caltech/P.Appleton et al. X-ray: NASA/CXC/A.Wolter & G.Trinchieri et al.
    Release Date January 11, 2006
    Instrument ACIS

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    ACIS

    The smaller galaxy produced compression waves in the gas of the Cartwheel as it plunged through it. These compression waves trigger bursts of star formation. The most recent star burst has lit up the Cartwheel’s rim, which has a diameter larger than that of the Milky Way galaxy, with millions of bright young stars.

    When the most massive of these stars explode as supernovas, they leave behind neutron stars and black holes. Some of these neutron stars and black holes have nearby companion stars, and have become powerful sources of X-rays as they pull matter off their companions.

    The brightest X-ray sources are likely black holes with companion stars, and appear as the white dots that lie along the rim of the X-ray image. The Cartwheel contains an exceptionally large number of these black hole binary X-ray sources, because many massive stars formed in the rim.

    See the full article here.

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


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