Amazing new image of a supernova remnant released on Feb 12, 2015 by NASA and Harvard captured by the Chandra X-ray Observatory.
According to Chandra.Harvard.edu, the website that released image, “G299 was left over by a particular class of supernovas called Type Ia. Astronomers think that a Type Ia supernova is a thermonuclear explosion – involving the fusion of elements and release of vast amounts of energy – of a white dwarf star in a tight orbit with a companion star. If the white dwarf’s partner is a typical, Sun-like star, the white dwarf can become unstable and explode as it draws material from its companion. Alternatively, the white dwarf is in orbit with another white dwarf, the two may merge and can trigger an explosion.”
Supernova Remnant G299.2-2.9
- Chandra observations of the supernova remnant G299.2-2.9 reveal important information about this object.
- The shape of the “supernova remnant” today gives clues about the explosion that created it about 4,500 years ago.
- G299.2-2.9 belongs to the class of supernovas known as Type Ias.
- Astronomers are trying to determine the exact mechanisms that produce these particular explosions.
- The patterns seen in the Chandra data suggest that a very lopsided explosion may have produced this Type Ia supernova.
The Chandra X-ray Observatory
The Chandra X-ray Observatory (CXO), previously known as the Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility (AXAF), is a space telescope launched on STS-93 by NASA on July 23, 1999. Chandra is sensitive to X-ray sources 100 times fainter than any previous X-ray telescope, enabled by the high angular resolution of its mirrors. Since the Earth’s atmosphere absorbs the vast majority of X-rays, they are not detectable from Earth-based telescopes; therefore space-based telescopes are required to make these observations. Chandra is an Earth satellite in a 64-hour orbit, and its mission is ongoing as of 2014.