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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 Cassiopeia A
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only Cassiopeia A is a supernova remnant found embedded in the constellation that bears its name, which is known as the queen in Greek mythology. Along with virtually all modern telescopes, the Chandra X-ray Observatory has devoted a great deal of time to examine this aftermath of an exploded star. The latest results from Chandra reveal new details about the neutron star, which is the ultra-dense core of the star that exploded. For the first time, astronomers have determined that this stellar nub has an incredibly thin atmosphere of carbon on its surface. This is an important clue in deducing the true nature of this mysterious source which lies at the center of one of astronomy's most famous objects.
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(X-ray: NASA/CXC/Southampton/W. Ho et al.; Illustration: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss.)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
2. Chandra X-ray Image and Animation of E0102-72.3
QuicktimeMPEG This motion graphic combines images of the supernova remnant E0102 with an animation of a three dimensional model for this object. It begins with the Chandra X-ray image of E0102, then dissolves to a so-called "velocity map" that shows material moving away from us (in red) and towards us (in blue). A cylinder-shaped model for E0102 is then shown, along with two smaller, faster moving regions. The model then dissolves back into the velocity map and the Chandra data.
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(NASA/STScI/G.Bacon; X-ray: NASA/CXC/MIT/D.Dewey et al. & NASA/CXC/SAO/J.DePasquale)

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Click for high-resolution animation
3. Tour of E0102-72.3
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only The supernova remnant known as E0102 was one of the targets that Chandra first observed after its launch in 1999. Now, some ten years later, new X-ray data from Chandra have been used to produce this spectacular image. E0102 is located about 190 thousand light-years away in the Small Magellanic Cloud, which is one of the nearest galaxies to the Milky Way. It was created when a star that was much more massive than the sun, exploded, an event that would have been visible from the southern hemisphere on Earth over one thousand years ago. The information captured in this new image, which includes optical data from the Hubble Space Telescope, reveals new clues about the geometry of the remnant. This in turn helps astronomers better understand the details of the explosion that created the remnant we see today.
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(Credit: X-ray (NASA/CXC/MIT/D.Dewey et al. & NASA/CXC/SAO/J.DePasquale); Optical (NASA/STScI))

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
4. Tour of PSR B1509-58
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only A small dense object is responsible for the remarkably complex and intriguing structures seen in this image from the Chandra X-ray Observatory. At the center of this image is a very young and powerful pulsar, known as PSR B1509-58. Pulsars are rapidly spinning neutron stars that are created when massive stars run out of fuel and collapse. This pulsar is spewing energy out into space and creates this beautiful X-ray nebula, including a structure that resembles a hand. Finger-like structures extend to the upper right, apparently transferring energy into knots of material in a neighboring cloud of gas and dust that is seen in other wavelengths. This makes these knots glow brightly in X-rays, which is why they appear red and orange in this Chandra image. Astronomers think that this pulsar is about 1700 years old and lies about 17,000 light years from Earth.
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(NASA/CXC/SAO/P.Slane, et al.)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
5. Tour of the Crab Nebula
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only The Crab Nebula is one of the best-known images ever taken by the Chandra X-ray Observatory. In X-ray light we can see a nebula of material that is powered by a rapidly rotating, highly magnetized neutron star at the center of the image. This particular Chandra image of the Crab shows how far the neutron star's influence is, creating these fingers and loops of radiation that extend far away from the neutron star. Looking at the Crab in other wavelengths, such as optical light from Hubble, seen here in green, and Spitzer's infrared view in red, we see a much different picture. The size of the X-ray image is smaller than the others because X-ray-emitting electrons radiate away their energy faster than the lower-energy electrons that emit optical and infrared light. Only by comparing these different wavelengths can we begin to see the total picture of the Crab Nebula.
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(NASA/CXC/SAO/F.Seward et al.)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
6. 3-D Fly-Through of Cassiopeia A
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*Broadcast Quality

This visualization shows a fly-through of Cas A based on the 3-D representation constructed from Chandra and Spitzer data. It begins with an artists rendition of the neutron star previously detected by Chandra. Next, new features unseen in traditional 2-D data sets are visible, including details of how the parent star exploded. The green region is mostly iron observed in X-rays; the yellow region is mostly argon and silicon seen in X-rays, optical and infared; the red region is cooler debris seen in the infared and the blue region is the outer blast wave, most prominent in X-rays.
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(Visualization: NASA/CXC/D.Berry; Model: NASA/CXC/MIT/T.Delaney et al.)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
7. 3-D Representation of Cassiopeia A
QuicktimeMPEG This result shows Cassiopeia A (Cas A) coming alive through the third dimension of space. Utilizing a technique borrowed from medical imaging, astronomers now have a way to travel through the heart of Cas A using data from NASA's Chandra and Spitzer telescopes. The different colors shown here correspond to different elements in the debris from the supernova explosion. This ground-breaking visualization of Cas A was made possible through a collaboration with the Astronomical Medicine project based at Harvard.
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(NASA/CXC/MIT/T.Delaney et al.)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
8. 3-D Visualization of Cassiopeia A
QuicktimeMPEG A research team has released a unique look of the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A (Cas A). By combining data from Chandra, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and ground- based optical observations, astronomers have been able to construct the first three-dimensional fly-through of a supernova remnant. This visualization (shown here as a still image) was made possible by importing the data into a medical imaging program that has been adapted for astronomical use. The green region shown in the image is mostly iron observed in X-rays; the yellow region is mostly argon and silicon seen in X-rays, optical and infared and the red region is cooler debris seen in the infared. The positions of these points in three-dimensional space were found by using the Doppler effect and simple assumptions about the supernova explosion.
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(NASA/CXC/MIT/T.Delaney et al.)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
9. Animation of a Supernova Explosion
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*Broadcast Quality

This artist's animation shows the basics of a supernova explosion like the one that created Cas A. When a massive star runs out of fuel, it collapses onto itself and its remains are then expelled into the surrounding space. This expanding debris field is very hot and thus glows brightly in X-rays, which are detected by telescopes like Chandra. At the end of the animation, the view dissolves into an image of Cas A created from Chandra data.
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(NASA/CXC/A.Hobart)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
10. Brief Time-lapse Movie of Cassiopeia A
QuicktimeMPEG This brief movie of X-ray data from Chandra of Cas A was made by combining observations taken in January 2000, February 2002, February 2004, and December 2007. In these images, the lowest-energy X-rays Chandra detects are shown in red, intermediate energies in green, and the highest energies in blue. Scientists have used the movie to measure the expansion velocity of the leading edge of the explosion's outer blast wave (shown in blue). The researchers find that the velocity is 11 million miles per hour, which is significantly slower than expected for an explosion with the energy estimated to have been released in Cas A.
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(NASA/CXC/SAO/D.Patnaude et al.)

Related Chandra Images: