What has Chandra found (or not found) during the course of its mission in the important area of exploded stars and what they leave behind? Find out in this post in "The Unexpected" series.
Expected and Detected:
As anticipated, high-resolution X-ray images have provided new insight into the supernova process, the effect supernova shock waves have on the surrounding interstellar gas, the acceleration of particles by rotating neutron stars, and enabled the discovery of many stellar-mass black holes.
Unexpected: The discovery of long plumes of silicon-rich gas in the Cassiopeia A supernova remnant (SNR), and iron-rich gas on the remnant’s outer edge suggest that a non-spherical explosion turned much of the original star "inside-out."
Unexpected: A neutron star discovered in the center of the Cassiopeia A SNR was observed to undergo a rapid drop in temperature, likely caused by the formation of a bizarre neutron superfluid state of matter deep inside the neutron star. black holes.
Unexpected: A pattern of X-ray “stripes” was found in the remains of an exploded star and may provide the first direct evidence that a cosmic event can accelerate particles to energies a hundred times higher than achieved by the most powerful particle accelerator on Earth.
Unexpected: The discovery of an X-ray emitting cloud 150 light years across that has been created by a rapidly spinning neutron star which is spewing magnetic fields and particles into surrounding space.