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Recent Podcast
A Tour of The Big, Bad & Beautiful Universe with Chandra
A Tour of The Big, Bad & Beautiful Universe with Chandra
To celebrate the 15th anniversary of NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, we have released four new images of supernova remnants. These show Chandra's ability to study the remains of supernova explosions, using images that are the sharpest available in X-ray astronomy. The images of the Tycho and G292.0+1.8 supernova remnants show how Chandra can trace the expanding debris of an exploded star. The images show shock waves, similar to sonic booms from a supersonic plane, that travel through space at speeds of millions of miles per hour. The images of the Crab Nebula and 3C58 show the effects of very dense, rapidly spinning neutron stars created when a massive star explodes. These neutron stars can create clouds of high-energy particles that glow brightly in X-rays. The image for G292 shows oxygen (yellow and orange), and other elements such as magnesium (green) and silicon and sulfur (blue) that were forged in the star before it exploded. For the other images, the lower energy X-rays are shown in red and green and the highest energy X-rays are shown in blue. (2014-07-22)


Tycho's Supernova Remnant in 60 Seconds

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Narrator (April Hobart, CXC): 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.

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