Dunlap: Magnetic Field of Supernova 1987A Remains

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Dunlap: Magnetic Field of Supernova 1987A Remains

Post by bystander » Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:02 pm

Astronomers Observe Magnetic Field of Supernova 1987A Remains
Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics | University of Toronto | 2018 Jun 29
For the first time, astronomers have directly observed the magnetism in one of astronomy’s most studied objects: the remains of Supernova 1987A (SN 1987A), a dying star that appeared in our skies over thirty years ago.

In addition to being an impressive observational achievement, the detection provides insight into the early stages of the evolution of supernova remnants and the cosmic magnetism within them.

“The magnetism we’ve detected is around 50,000 times weaker than a fridge magnet,” says Prof. Bryan Gaensler. “And we’ve been able to measure this from a distance of around 1.6 million trillion kilometres.”

“This is the earliest possible detection of the magnetic field formed after the explosion of a massive star,” says Dr. Giovanna Zanardo. ...

In the thirty years since the supernova occurred, material expelled by the blast, as well as the shockwave from the star’s death throes, have been travelling outward through the gas and dust that surrounded the star before it exploded. Today, when we look at the remnant, we see rings of material set aglow by the supernova’s expanding debris and shockwave.

Using the CSIRO Australia Telescope Compact Array at the Paul Wild Observatory, Gaensler and his colleagues observed the magnetic field by studying the radiation coming from the object. By analyzing the properties of this radiation, they were able to trace the magnetic field. ...

Detection of Linear Polarization in the Radio Remnant of Supernova 1987A - Giovanna Zanardo et al
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