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Introduction and Background:

Image Analysis of Supernova Remnants

An activity - X-Ray Spectroscopy of Supernova Remnants - has been developed so students can examine the spectra of several supernova remnants; determine the elements that are present and their relative abundances, and decide if each remnant is from a Type II core-collapse event or the Type Ia thermonuclear destruction of a white dwarf. This activity uses ds9 - an image analysis software package. Ds9 allows the user to download a toolbox onto their desktop and remotely access dedicated Linux servers which process the analysis commands.

The ds9 image analysis software allows educators, students, amateur astronomers and the general public to perform X-ray astronomy data analysis using data sets from the Chandra X-ray Observatory, the ds9 image display program, and astrophysical software analysis tools. The program uses the same analysis process that an X-ray astronomer would follow in analyzing the data from a Chandra observation. The download instructions to install the ds9 toolbox on your desktop are located at . The introduction at describes the overview and purpose of the software and gives a short summary of the Chandra mission. The tutorial for using the ds9 software is located at

NOTE: It is not necessary to read the tutorial before beginning the X-ray Spectroscopy of Supernova Remnants activity. All ds9 educational activities are constructed to use one or two specific software tools, and complete instructions to use the tools are given within the individual activities. If a computer activity is not available as an option, a paper and pencil version of this activity is also provided. Screen shots of the necessary spectra from ds9 are included with the activity, and the only additional materials required are pencils and rulers. Click here for additional information and possible results for this activity.

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