Images
X-ray Images
Chandra Mission
X-ray Astronomy
Chandra People
Podcasts
Chandra in HD
Standard Definition
The Invisible Sky
Two Inch Universe
By Date/Category
Other Features
Animations & Video
Special Features
Audio
Resources
Q & A
Glossary
Acronym Guide
Further Reading
Desktop Images
iPhone Wallpapers
By Date/Category
Miscellaneous
Handouts
Image Handouts
Chandra Lithographs
Educational Activities
Printable Games
Chandra Fact Sheets
Presentations
Entire Collection
By Date
By Category
Presentations
Web Shortcuts
Chandra Blog
RSS Feed
Chandra Mobile
Chronicle
Email Newsletter
News & Noteworthy
Image Use Policy
Questions & Answers
Glossary of Terms
Download Guide
Get Adobe Reader
Problems Viewing?
Having trouble viewing a movie? Make sure you update your video plug-ins. Visit our download center for help.
More Information
Supernovas & SNR
X-ray Astronomy Field Guide
Supernovas & SNR
Questions and Answers
Supernovas & SNR
Chandra Images
Supernovas & SNR
Animations & Video: Supernovas & Supernova Remnants
Click for high-resolution animation
1. Tour of RCW 86
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only In 185 A.D., Chinese astronomers noted a "guest star" that mysteriously appeared in the sky and stayed for about 8 months. By the 1960s, scientists had determined that the mysterious object was, in fact, a supernova. Later, they figured out that this supernova remnant, now known as RCW 86, was located about 8,000 light years away. Today, astronomers have taken data from four different telescopes to make this stunning new image of RCW 86. Here, X-rays from Chandra and XMM-Newton have been combined with infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope and the WISE mission. Taken together, these data show that the explosion from nearly 2,000 years ago was caused by a so-called Type Ia supernova. This type of supernova happens when a white dwarf star pulls too much material from a companion star, causing a thermonuclear explosion to go off.
[Runtime: 1.14]
(NASA/CXC/A. Hobart)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
2. Tour of G299.2-2.9
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only G299.2-2.9 is an intriguing supernova remnant found about 16,000 light years away in the Milky Way galaxy. Here we see the remnant in X-rays from Chandra overlaid on infrared data from the Two-Micron All-Sky Survey. Astronomers have gathered evidence that shows this remnant is the aftermath of what is called a Type Ia supernova. Type Ias happen when a white dwarf grows too massive and violently explodes. Astronomers want to understand the exact details of how Type Ias explode because they use them to measure the accelerated expansion of the universe and study dark energy. Because it is older than most Type Ias found so far, G299.2-2.9 provides astronomers with an excellent opportunity to study how these important objects evolve over time.
[Runtime: 1.07]
(NASA/CXC/A. Hobart)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
3. Tour of the Crab
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only The Crab Nebula is one of the brightest sources of high-energy radiation in the sky. Little wonder - it's the expanding remains of an exploded star, a supernova seen in 1054. Scientists have used virtually every telescope at their disposal, including NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, to study the Crab. The supernova left behind a magnetized neutron star - a pulsar. It's about the size of Washington DC, but it spins 30 times a second. Each rotation sweeps a lighthouse-like beam past us, creating a pulse of electromagnetic energy detectable across the spectrum.

Here's what the sky looks like in high-energy gamma rays. The pulsar in the Crab Nebula is among the brightest sources. Recently, NASA's Fermi Gamma Ray Observatory and Italy's AGILE Satellite detected strong gamma-ray flares from the Crab, including a series of "superflares" in April 2011. To help pinpoint the location of these flares, astronomers enlisted Chandra.

With its keen X-ray eyes, Chandra saw lots of activity, but none of it seems correlated with the superflare. This hints that whatever is causing the flares is happening with about a third of a light year from the pulsar. And rapid changes in the rise and fall of gamma rays imply that the emission region is very small, comparable in size to our Solar System.

The Chandra observations will likely help scientists to home in on an explanation of the gamma-ray flares one day. The Chandra data provide strong constraints on the behavior, at relatively low energies, of the particles that have been accelerated to produce the gamma-ray flares. Even after a thousand years, the heart of this shattered star still offers scientists glimpses of staggering energies and cutting edge science.
[Runtime: 02:14]
(NASA/CXC/MSFC/M.Weisskopf et al & A.Hobart)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
4. Chandra Motion Sequence of Crab Nebula
QuicktimeMPEG A new movie from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory shows a sequence of Chandra images of the Crab Nebula, taken over an interval of seven months. Dramatic variations are seen, including the expansion of a ring of X-ray emission around the pulsar (white dot near center) and changes in the knots within this ring. Chandra began observing the Crab on monthly intervals beginning six days after the discovery of the gamma-ray flare in September 2010. This established a baseline of seven images of the nebula before the superflare was seen just last month. When scientists saw that more flaring activity was beginning in April 2011, a pre-planned set of five Chandra observations was initiated. Two of these observations were made when strong gamma-ray flares occurred, but no clear evidence was seen for correlated flares in the Chandra images. The movie shows the April observations in "slow motion" to focus on the time when the gamma-ray superflares occurred. The movie shows three loops through the sequence of images, along with a timeline near the bottom.
[Runtime: 0.12]
View Stills
(NASA/CXC/MSFC/M.Weisskopf et al & A.Hobart)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
5. Tour of Tycho's Supernova Remnant
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only New research using Chandra data of the Tycho supernova remnant provides astronomers with clues to what triggered the original supernova explosion. Tycho was formed by a so-called Type Ia supernova. Scientists use this category of supernovas to measure large distances across the Universe because it is believed they are consistently bright when they explode. But what causes the explosion? This is still a debate. This new Chandra result, however, suggests that Tycho went off when a white dwarf pulled too much material from a companion star and exploded. This evidence comes from a small arc of X-ray emission that was found in the Chandra image. This arc is, in fact, due to a shock wave created when the white dwarf exploded and blew material off the surface of the nearby star. Understanding exactly how and why Type Ia supernovas explode is useful because they are an important type of object for investigating dark energy in the Universe.
[Runtime: 1.09]
(NASA/CXC/Chinese Academy of Sciences/F. Lu et al)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
6. A Tour of Tycho
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only Over four hundred years ago, the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe studied the explosion of a star that later became known as Tycho's supernova. A look at Tycho in X-rays by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory shows that the supernova remnant contains an expanding bubble of superheated debris, which sits within an even more rapidly moving shell of extremely high-energy electrons. A very long Chandra observation of Tycho totaling about a million seconds of time, has uncovered new and unexpected structures in this aftermath of the star's explosion. A series of stripes in the remnant provides novel evidence for particles that have been accelerated to extremely high energies. This is an important clue to better understanding the object that Tycho Brahe first saw back in 1572.
[Runtime: 0.92]
(X-ray: NASA/CXC/Rutgers/K.Eriksen et al.; Optical: DSS)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
7. Multiwavelength Views of Tycho's Supernova Remnant
QuicktimeMPEG 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.
[Runtime: 0.10]
(X-ray: NASA/CXC/Rutgers/K.Eriksen et al.; Optical: DSS)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
8. A Tour of SN 1979C
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only The youngest known black hole in our cosmic neighborhood may have been found using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes. Evidence for this very young black hole was found in a supernova called 1979C, seen to explode about 30 years ago. Dr Dan Patnaude of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics led this study and discusses it with us.
[Runtime: 02:56]
(X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/D.Patnaude et al, Optical: ESO/VLT, Infrared: NASA/JPL/Caltech)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
9. Animation of Black Hole Formation in SN 1979C
QuicktimeMPEG This animation shows how a black hole may have formed in SN 1979C. The collapse of a massive star is shown, after it has exhausted its fuel. A flash of light from a shock breaking through the surface of the star is then shown, followed by a powerful supernova explosion. The view then zooms into the center of the explosion. Red, slow-moving material in a disk is shown falling onto the white neutron star that formed when the star collapsed. The rate of infall onto the neutron star increases until the star collapses into a black hole. Matter should continue to fall into the black hole and generate bright X-ray emission for many years.
[Runtime: 00:20]
(NASA/CXC/A.Hobart)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
10. Tour of G327.1-1.1
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only G327.1-1.1 is the aftermath of a massive star that exploded as a supernova in the Milky Way galaxy. A highly magnetic, rapidly spinning neutron star called a pulsar was left behind after the explosion and is producing a wind of relativistic particles, seen in X-rays by Chandra and XMM-Newton as well as in radio data. This structure is called a pulsar wind nebula. No clear explanation is yet known for the unusual shape of this supernova remnant. One possibility is that we are seeing the effects of a shock wave bouncing backwards off of the shell of material swept up by the blast wave. The X-ray observations allow scientists to estimate the energy released during the supernova explosion and the age of the remnant, as well as the amount of material being swept up as the blast wave from the explosion expands.
[Runtime: 01:08]
(X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/T.Temim et al. and ESA/XMM-Newton Radio: SIFA/MOST and CSIRO/ATNF/ATCA; Infrared: UMass/IPAC-Caltech/NASA/NSF/2MASS)

Related Chandra Images: