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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. 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.
[Runtime: 0:07]
(NASA/CXC/MIT/T.Delaney et al.)

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Click for high-resolution animation
2. 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.
[Runtime: 00:26]
(NASA/CXC/A.Hobart)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
3. 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.
[Runtime: 00:20]
(NASA/CXC/SAO/D.Patnaude et al.)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
4. Movie of Chandra Images Evolving Over Time
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This movie has been created from a series of X-ray observations from Chandra of Cassiopeia A (Cas A) over eight years. It begins with a full-field view of Cas A, cycling through the movie several times. The camera then zooms into three different areas of Cas A where evolution of different features can been seen. This movie - the first of its kind for a supernova remnant - reveals new details about the supernova explosion and its remnant seen today.
[Runtime: 2:00]
(NASA/CXC/SAO/D.Patnaude et al.)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
5. Tour of G292.01+8
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only This image shows how complex a star's afterlife can be. At a distance of about 20,000 light years, G292 is one of only three supernova remnants in the Milky Way galaxy known to contain large amounts of oxygen. This image from Chandra shows us that G292 is now a rapidly-expanding debris field that contains, along with oxygen, other elements such as neon and silicon that were forged in the star before it exploded.

By mapping the distribution of X-rays in different energy bands, astronomers can trace the distribution of chemical elements ejected in the supernova. The results imply that the explosion was not symmetrical. For example, silicon and sulfur, which are colored blue in this image, and magnesium, which is green, are seen strongly in the upper right. On the other hand, oxygen, which appears as yellow and orange, dominates the lower left. Studying the details of this X-ray image allows astronomers to better understand how some stars die and disperse important elements like oxygen into the next generation of stars and planets.
[Runtime: 1:11]
(X-ray: NASA/CXC/Penn State/S.Park et al.; Optical: Pal.Obs. DSS)

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Click for high-resolution animation
6. Tour of SN1996cr
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only In 1995 or 1996 a supernova exploded in a nearby galaxy, but no one on Earth knew it at the time. By using the vast amounts of online data now available, a team of astronomers was able to piece together this cosmic case over a decade later. A Chandra observation in 2001 started things off by showing that this object was a bright source that was changing in its X-ray brightness. This led to an investigation that involved some 18 different telescopes on the ground and in space. Ultimately, astronomers realized that this object - now known as supernova 1996cr - was one of the nearest and brightest to have gone off in the last 25 years.
[Runtime: 0.50]
(X-ray (NASA/CXC/Columbia/F.Bauer et al); Optical (NASA/STScI/UMD/A.Wilson et al.))

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Click for high-resolution animation
7. Tour of SN 1006
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only Over a thousand years ago, a new object was spotted in the sky that was brighter than Venus and visible during the day for weeks. This spectacular lightshow was documented in China, Japan, Europe and the Arab world, and we now know it was the brightest supernova ever recorded on Earth. By using modern telescopes that detect optical, radio and x-ray light, astronomers can continue to study the expanding debris field. The original star was actually one of a pair. One star pulled so much material from its companion, that eventually it triggered an explosion that destroyed it. What remains is this complicated and beautiful structure which astronomers call Supernova 1006. This helps us better understand how some stars explode.
[Runtime: 0.45]
(Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Rutgers/G.Cassam-Chenaļ, J.Hughes et al.; Radio: NRAO/AUI/NSF/GBT/VLA/Dyer, Maddalena & Cornwell; Optical: Middlebury College/F.Winkler, NOAO/AURA/NSF/CTIO Schmidt & DSS)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
8. Tour of G1.9+0.3
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only About a hundred and forty years ago, the light from a supernova explosion in our galaxy reached the Earth, but no one saw it. That's because, as this infrared version shows, the center of the Milky Way contains thick bands of gas and dust, making it impossible for astronomers to detect this explosion using optical telescopes. However, the debris field created by the supernova shines brightly in x-ray and radio wavelengths. A combination of data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory in space and the Very Large Array of radio dishes in New Mexico allowed astronomers to identify this object and nail down its age. The discovery of this supernova remnant helps astronomers better understand how often these stellar time-bombs go off in our galaxy.
[Runtime: 0.46]
(Credit: X-ray (NASA/CXC/NCSU/S.Reynolds et al.); Radio (NSF/NRAO/VLA/Cambridge/D.Green et al.); Infrared (2MASS/UMass/IPAC-Caltech/NASA/NSF/CfA/E.Bressert))

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Click for high-resolution animation
9. Animation of G1.9+0.3
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This animation begins with a view of the Milky Way from above the plane of the galaxy, where the Galactic center and bulge is unobscured by dust and gas. The viewer then travels towards the center of the Galaxy and zooms into the bright, crowded central bulge of the Milky Way, where a supernova explosion occurs. The ejecta from the explosion rushes outwards where it interacts with the gas surrounding the explosion, causing the formation of a supernova remnant which shines brightly in X-rays and radio waves. This is the scenario scientists envision occurred with G1.9+0.3
[Runtime: 0.23]
(NASA/CXC/A. Hobart)

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Click for high-resolution animation
10. Comparison of X-ray and Radio Images
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In order to determine the age of G1.9+0.3, astronomers needed to track how quickly it is expanding. By comparing a radio image from 1985 to a Chandra image taken in 2007, scientists see the ring of debris expand. The expansion rate was confirmed with another radio observation with the VLA in 2008. The difference in size between these images gives clear evidence for expansion, allowing the age of the remnant and the time since the original supernova explosion (about 140 years) to be estimated.
[Runtime: 0.35]
(X-ray (NASA/CXC/NCSU/S.Reynolds et al.); Radio (NSF/NRAO/VLA/ Cambridge/D.Green et al.)

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