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 Chandra Uncovers Youngest Supernova in Our Galaxy

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PostSubject: Chandra Uncovers Youngest Supernova in Our Galaxy   Chandra Uncovers Youngest Supernova in Our Galaxy Empty2008-09-27, 13:11

The Youngest Supernova In Our Galaxy
A New Discovery in the Milky Way by Chandra Space Telescope
Published as a NASA news release in May, 2008.


Chandra Uncovers Youngest Supernova in Our Galaxy



Chandra Uncovers Youngest Supernova in Our Galaxy Youngest-supernova


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The expanding remains of a supernova explosion in the Milky Way are shown in this composite image of the supernova remnant G1.9+0.3. NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory image obtained in early 2007 is shown in orange and the radio image from NRAO's Very Large Array (VLA) from 1985 is in blue. The difference in size between the two images gives clear evidence for expansion, allowing the time since the original supernova explosion (about 140 years) to be estimated.

This makes the original explosion the most recent supernova in the Galaxy, as measured in Earth's time-frame (referring to when events are observable at Earth). Equivalently, this is the youngest known supernova remnant in the Galaxy (140 years old), easily beating the previous record of about 330 years for Cassiopeia A. The rapid expansion and young age for G1.9+0.3 was recently confirmed by a new VLA image obtained in early 2008.

The original supernova explosion was not seen in optical light about 140 years ago because it occurred close to the center of the Galaxy, and is embedded in a dense field of gas and dust. This made the supernova about a trillion times fainter, in optical light, than if it had been unobscured. However, X-rays and radio waves from the resulting supernova remnant easily penetrate this dust and gas.

Credit: X-ray (NASA/CXC/NCSU/S.Reynolds et al.); Radio (NSF / NRAO / VLA / Cambridge / D.Green et al.); Infrared (2MASS / UMass / IPAC-Caltech / NASA / NSF / CfA / E.Bressert)



Chandra Uncovers Youngest Supernova in Our Galaxy Youngest-supernova-in-our-galaxy


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An infrared image from the Two Micron All Sky survey (2MASS), where the colors represent different infrared wavelengths. The center of the galaxy is the bright red spot in the upper right and the location of G1.9+0.3 is shown by the box in the lower left, less than two degrees away (corresponding to about a thousand light years at the distance of the galactic center). More stars are visible in this 2MASS image than in an optical image, where obscuration by dust and gas is more prominent. Also, note the difference in orientation: in the close-up view of G1.9+0.3, north is up and east is to the left, while in the 2MASS image north is to the left and east is down.


Supernova remnants are caused when the debris thrown outwards by the explosion crashes into surrounding material, generating a shell of hot gas and high-energy particles that glows brightly in X-rays, radio waves and other wavelengths for thousands of years. In the case of G1.9+0.3 the material is expanding outwards at almost 35 million miles per hour, or about 5% the speed of light, an unprecedented expansion speed for a supernova remnant. Another superlative for G1.9+0.3 is that it has generated the most energetic electrons ever seen in a supernova remnant.


Credit: X-ray (NASA / CXC / NCSU / S.Reynolds et al.); Radio (NSF / NRAO / VLA / Cambridge / D.Green et al.); Infrared (2MASS / UMass / IPAC-Caltech / NASA / NSF / CfA / E.Bressert)




The most recent supernova in our galaxy has been discovered by tracking the rapid expansion of its remains. This result, using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's Very Large Array, will help improve our understanding of how often supernovae explode in the Milky Way galaxy.



The supernova explosion occurred about 140 years ago, making it the most recent in the Milky Way. Previously, the last known supernova in our galaxy occurred around 1680, an estimate based on the expansion of its remnant, Cassiopeia A.

Finding such a recent, obscured supernova is a first step in making a better estimate of how often the stellar explosions occur. This is important because supernovae heat and redistribute large amounts of gas, and pump heavy elements out into their surroundings. They can trigger the formation of new stars as part of a cycle of stellar death and rebirth. The explosion also can leave behind, in addition to the expanding remnant, a central neutron star or black hole.



The recent supernova explosion was not seen with optical telescopes because it occurred close to the center of the galaxy and is embedded in a dense field of gas and dust. This made the object about a trillion times fainter, in optical light, than an unobscured supernova. However, the remnant it caused can be seen by X-ray and radio telescopes.

"We can see some supernova explosions with optical telescopes across half of the universe, but when they're in this murk we can miss them in our own cosmic backyard," said Stephen Reynolds of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, who led the Chandra study. "Fortunately, the expanding gas cloud from the explosion shines brightly in radio waves and X-rays for thousands of years. X-ray and radio telescopes can see through all that obscuration and show us what we've been missing."
Astronomers regularly observe supernovae in other galaxies like ours. Based on those observations, researchers estimate about three explode every century in the Milky Way.

"If the supernova rate estimates are correct, there should be the remnants of about 10 supernova explosions that are younger than Cassiopeia A," said David Green of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, who led the Very Large Array study. "It's great to finally track one of them down."

The tracking of this object began in 1985, when astronomers, led by Green, used the Very Large Array to identify the remnant of a supernova explosion near the center of our galaxy. Based on its small size, it was thought to have resulted from a supernova that exploded about 400 to 1000 years ago.

Twenty-two years later, Chandra observations revealed the remnant had expanded by a surprisingly large amount, about 16 percent, since 1985. This indicates the supernova remnant is much younger than previously thought.

That young age was confirmed in recent weeks when the Very Large Array made new radio observations. This comparison of data pinpoints the age of the remnant at 140 years - possibly less if it has been slowing down - making it the youngest on record in the Milky Way.

Besides being the record holder for youngest supernova, the object is of considerable interest for other reasons. The high expansion velocities and extreme particle energies that have been generated are unprecedented and should stimulate deeper studies of the object with Chandra and the Very Large Array.
"No other object in the galaxy has properties like this," Reynolds said. "This find is extremely important for learning more about how some stars explode and what happens in the aftermath."

These results are scheduled to appear in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory controls Chandra's science and flight operations from the Chandra X-ray Center in Cambridge, Mass



This information above and the images were published as a NASA news release in May, 2008.



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PostSubject: Re: Chandra Uncovers Youngest Supernova in Our Galaxy   Chandra Uncovers Youngest Supernova in Our Galaxy Empty2008-09-27, 17:07

nice info thnx .........BM

for other members who did not know abt supernova......:
A supernova is a star at its last stage of its life..it starts its life cycle as a tiny spatial body and ends with a huge RED GIANT shape called SUPERNOVA and it takes billions of years to complete its lifecycle.
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PostSubject: Re: Chandra Uncovers Youngest Supernova in Our Galaxy   Chandra Uncovers Youngest Supernova in Our Galaxy Empty2008-09-27, 23:07

good info by BM and ABHI

Pic of Chandra Uncovers Youngest Supernova in Our Galaxy
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