More Images of SN 1006
Chandra 2-color X-ray Image of SN 1006
Chandra's image of SN 1006 shows X-rays from multimillion degree gas (red/orange) and high-energy electrons (blue). In the year 1006 a "new star" appeared in the sky and in just a few days it became brighter than the planet Venus. We now know that the event heralded not the appearance of a new star, but the cataclysmic death of an old one. It was likely a white dwarf star that had been pulling matter off an orbiting companion star. When the white dwarf mass exceeded the stability limit (known as the Chandrasekhar limit), it exploded. Material ejected in the supernova produced tremendous shock waves that heated gas to millions of degrees and accelerated electrons to extremely high energies.
(Credit:NASA/CXC/Rutgers/G.Cassam-Chenai, J.Hughes et al.)
X-ray, Radio & Optical Images of SN 1006
These images show optical, radio, and X-ray data of the full shell of the supernova remnant from SN 1006. The radio data show much of the extent that the X-ray image shows. The visible light stems primarily from a small delicate filament along the northwest rim of the shell. The entire object has an angular size of roughly 30 arcminutes (0.5 degree, or about the size of the full moon), and a physical size of 60 light years based on its distance of nearly 7,000 light years from Earth. The X-ray data were acquired from the Chandra X-ray Observatory’s AXAF CCD Imaging Spectrometer (ACIS) at 0.5-3keV, and were provided by J. Hughes (Rutgers University) et al. The radio data, supplied by K. Dyer and collaborators Maddalena and Cornwell (NRAO, Socorro), were a composite from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s Very Large Array (NRAO/VLA) in Socorro, New Mexico, along with NRAO’s Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in Green Bank, West Virginia. The optical data were obtained at the University of Michigan’s 0.9-meter Curtis Schmidt telescope at the National Science Foundation’s Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) near La Serena, Chile. CTIO is part of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, which has its headquarters in Tucson, Ariz. H-alpha, continuum-subtracted data were provided by F. Winkler (Middlebury College) et al. Also included is a visible-light stellar background from the Digitized Sky Survey’s Anglo-Australian Observatory (AAO2) blue and red plates.
(Credit:X-ray: NASA/CXC/Rutgers/G.Cassam-Chenai, J.Hughes et al.; Radio: NRAO/AUI/NSF/GBT/VLA/Dyer, Maddalena & Cornwell; Optical: Middlebury College/F.Winkler, NOAO/AURA/NSF/CTIO Schmidt & DSS)
Return to SN 1006 (July 1, 2008)
Hubble field of view
marked in green
Jpeg, Tif, PS
Hubble Optical Image of SN 1006
Taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, this image is
a very thin section of a supernova remnant caused by a stellar explosion that occurred
more than 1,000 years ago. In 1976, the first detection of exceedingly faint optical emission of the supernova
remnant was reported, but only for a filament located on the northwest edge of the radio
ring. A tiny portion of this filament is revealed in detail by the Hubble observation. The
twisting ribbon of light seen by Hubble corresponds to locations where the expanding
blast wave from the supernova is now sweeping into very tenuous surrounding gas.
The hydrogen gas heated by this fast shock wave emits radiation in visible light. Hence,
the optical emission provides astronomers with a detailed "snapshot" of the actual
position and geometry of the shock front at any given time. Bright edges within the ribbon correspond to
places where the shock wave is seen exactly edge on to our line of sight.
More Information at Hubble
(Credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA))