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Tycho's Supernova Remnant Animations
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Tour of Tycho's Supernova Remnant
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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: 01:09]

(Credit: NASA/CXC/Chinese Academy of Sciences/F. Lu et al)

Return to Tycho's Supernova Remnant (April 26, 2011)