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More Images of Kepler's Supernova Remnant
Click for large jpg Labeled
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Composite Image of Infrared and Iron X-ray Emission
This composite image shows Spitzer infrared emission in pink and Chandra X-ray emission from iron in blue. The infrared emission is very similar in shape and location to X-ray emission (not shown here) from material that was expelled by the giant star companion to the white dwarf before the latter exploded. This material forms a disk around the center of the explosion as shown in the labeled version. This composite figure also shows a remarkably large and puzzling concentration of iron on the left side of the center of the remnant but not the right. The authors speculate that the cause of this asymmetry might be the "shadow" in iron that was cast by the companion star, which blocked the ejection of material. Previously, theoretical work has suggested this shadowing is possible for Type Ia supernova remnants.
(Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/NCSU/M.Burkey et al; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech.))

Click for large jpg X-ray
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Click for large jpg Optical
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X-ray and Optical Images of Kepler's Supernova Remnant
Over 400 years ago, Johannes Kepler and many others witnessed the appearance of a new "star" in the sky. Today, this object is known as the Kepler supernova remnant. Previously, astronomers have deduced that the Kepler remnant comes from a so-called Type Ia supernova, which is the result of a thermonuclear explosion of a white dwarf. New data from Chandra suggest that this white dwarf exploded after pulling material from a companion red giant star, and not from the merger with another white dwarf. In these images, data from Chandra are colored red, green, and blue to show low, medium, and high-energy X-rays, and the optical image of the field is shown in grayscale.
(Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/NCSU/M.Burkey et al; Optical: DSS)

Still from 2D Kepler Simulation
This graphic shows a still from the end of a simulation of the Kepler supernova. The supernova has interacted with material expelled by the giant star companion to the white dwarf before the latter exploded. The colors represent the density of the gas, as labeled. Note the dense structure on the right side of the explosion. The forward shock is the leading edge of the explosion and the reverse shock is caused by hot gas behind the forward shock pushing back on the supernova ejecta, creating a second shock wave. This simulation was performed in two dimensions, so this is a cross-section of the explosion. The simulation has to be projected into three dimensions [see #4 below] to compare with observations. The good agreement with Chandra and Spitzer data supports the author's interpretation of the disk-like structure they observed.
(Credit: NASA/CXC/NCSU/J.Blondin et al.)
3D Version of Kepler Simulation
In this graphic a two dimensional simulation of the Kepler supernova has been projected into three dimensions and converted back into a 2D graphic, to compare with Chandra and Spitzer data. Yellow shows high density gas and blue shows low density gas. The simulation does a good job at reproducing the disk-like structure [see #1 above] seen in the data. This supports the author's interpretation that the disk-like structure formed when interaction occurred between the supernova and a wind left behind by the giant star companion to the exploded star.
(Credit: NASA/CXC/NCSU/J.Blondin et al.)

Return to Kepler's Supernova Remnant (March 18, 2013)