G292.01+8 in 60 Seconds
Narrator (Megan Watzke, CXC): 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.