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More Images of Tycho's Supernova Remnant
Click for large jpg X-ray
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Click for large jpg Optical
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X-ray & Optical images of Tycho
A long Chandra observation of Tycho has revealed a pattern of X-ray "stripes" never seen before in a supernova remnant. The stripes are seen in the high-energy X-rays (blue) that also show the blast wave, a shell of extremely energetic electrons. Low-energy X-rays (red) show expanding debris from the supernova explosion. The stripes, seen to the lower right of this composite image that includes optical data from the Digitized Sky Survey, 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.
(Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Rutgers/K.Eriksen et al.; Optical: DSS)
Click for large jpg With all stars
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Image With All Stars
This composite image shows the Chandra image - including the high energy X-rays and the explosion debris - and all of the foreground and background stars in the DSS image. A bright star appears on top of one of the few high energy stripes visible in this image. To avoid this issue in the main image, we "masked out" stars from the region where X-rays are visible. Here, the unmasked image is shown, giving a slightly different appearance from our main image.
(Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Rutgers/K.Eriksen et al.; Optical: DSS)
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High Energy Stripes in the Tycho Supernova Remnant
This Chandra image shows the higher energy X-rays detected from the Tycho supernova remnant. These X-rays show the expanding blast wave from the supernova, a shell of extremely energetic electrons. Close-ups of two different regions are shown, region A containing the brightest stripes and region B with fainter stripes. The stripes are areas where the magnetic fields are much more tangled and the particle motion is much more turbulent than surrounding areas. Electrons become trapped in these regions and emit X-rays as they spiral around the magnetic field lines.
(Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Rutgers/K.Eriksen et al.;)
Schematic Illustration of the Tycho Stripes
This illustration explains what scientists believe is occurring in the stripes in the Tycho supernova remnant. The blue, circular region on the left is a schematic representation of the outer shell making up the blast wave of the supernova remnant, with the lighter colored regions being the stripes. The upper panel shows a close-up of a region away from the stripes, where the black lines show tangled magnetic field lines and the red line shows an electron spiraling around one of these lines. Electrons with energies of a trillion electron volts (10^12 eV), corresponding to energies about 7 times lower than the maximum energy reached by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), are responsible for the X-ray emission seen by Chandra. The middle panel shows a close-up of a faint stripe. Here, the magnetic fields are much more tangled and the particle motions are much more turbulent, producing higher energy X-ray emission. In the bright stripe the tangling of the magnetic fields and the turbulence is even higher. The spacing between the stripes corresponds to the radius of the spiraling motion of a proton with an energy over a hundred times larger than the LHC. The path of such a proton is shown in yellow. Very energetic particles like this do not radiate efficiently and cannot be detected with Chandra but are believed to be the origin of the most energetic cosmic rays in our galaxy.
(Credit: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss)

Tycho's Supernova Remnant with Scale Bar
(Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Rutgers/K.Eriksen et al.; Optical: DSS

Tycho's Supernova Remnant (March 24, 2011)