CXC: Chandra Reveals the Elemental Nature of Cas A

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CXC: Chandra Reveals the Elemental Nature of Cas A

Post by bystander » Wed Dec 13, 2017 6:21 pm

Chandra Reveals the Elemental Nature of Cassiopeia A
NASA | MSFC | SAO | Chandra X-ray Observatory | 2017 Dec 12
[img3="Location of elements in Cassiopeia A. Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO"]http://chandra.si.edu/photo/2017/casa_l ... ements.jpg[/img3][hr][/hr]
Where do most of the elements essential for life on Earth come from? The answer: inside the furnaces of stars and the explosions that mark the end of some stars' lives.

Astronomers have long studied exploded stars and their remains — known as "supernova remnants" — to better understand exactly how stars produce and then disseminate many of the elements observed on Earth, and in the cosmos at large.

Due to its unique evolutionary status, Cassiopeia A (Cas A) is one of the most intensely studied of these supernova remnants. A new image from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory shows the location of different elements in the remains of the explosion: silicon (red), sulfur (yellow), calcium (green) and iron (purple). Each of these elements produces X-rays within narrow energy ranges, allowing maps of their location to be created. The blast wave from the explosion is seen as the blue outer ring.

X-ray telescopes such as Chandra are important to study supernova remnants and the elements they produce because these events generate extremely high temperatures — millions of degrees — even thousands of years after the explosion. This means that many supernova remnants, including Cas A, glow most strongly at X-ray wavelengths that are undetectable with other types of telescopes.

Chandra's sharp X-ray vision allows astronomers to gather detailed information about the elements that objects like Cas A produce. For example, they are not only able to identify many of the elements that are present, but how much of each are being expelled into interstellar space.

The Chandra data indicate that the supernova that produced Cas A has churned out prodigious amounts of key cosmic ingredients. Cas A has dispersed about 10,000 Earth masses worth of sulfur alone, and about 20,000 Earth masses of silicon. The iron in Cas A has the mass of about 70,000 times that of the Earth, and astronomers detect a whopping one million Earth masses worth of oxygen being ejected into space from Cas A, equivalent to about three times the mass of the Sun. (Even though oxygen is the most abundant element in Cas A, its X-ray emission is spread across a wide range of energies and cannot be isolated in this image, unlike with the other elements that are shown.) ...

A Chandra X-Ray Survey of Ejecta in the Cassiopeia A Supernova Remnant - Una Hwang, J. Martin Laming X-Ray Observation of the Shocked Red Supergiant Wind of Cassiopeia A - Jae-Joon Lee et al
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CXC: A New Stellar X-ray "Reality" Show Debuts

Post by bystander » Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:20 pm

A New Stellar X-ray "Reality" Show Debuts
NASA | MSFC | SAO | Chandra X-ray Observatory | 2017 Dec 27

Walking Among the Stars

A new project using data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes allows people to navigate through real data of the remains of an exploded star for the first time.

This three-dimensional virtual reality (VR) project with augmented reality (AR) allows users to explore inside the debris from actual observations of the supernova remnant called Cassiopeia A. Cassiopeia A (Cas A, for short) is the debris field of a massive star that blew itself apart over 340 years ago.

The new 3D VR/AR project of Cas A is a collaboration between the Chandra X-ray Center in Cambridge, Mass., and Brown University's Center for Computation and Visualization in Providence, RI, and will provide new opportunities for public communications, informal education, and research.
Know the quiet place within your heart and touch the rainbow of possibility; be
alive to the gentle breeze of communication, and please stop being such a jerk.
— Garrison Keillor