Home > Astronomy, General Astronomy, Supernovae, X-Rays > Was Kepler’s Supernova Unusually Powerful?

Was Kepler’s Supernova Unusually Powerful?


Credits: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/D.Patnaude, Optical: DSS

In 1604, a new star appeared in the night sky that was much brighter than Jupiter and dimmed over several weeks. This event was witnessed by sky watchers including the famous astronomer Johannes Kepler. Centuries later, the debris from this exploded star is known as the Kepler supernova remnant. Astronomers have long studied the Kepler supernova remnant and tried to determine exactly what happened when the star exploded to create it. New analysis of a long observation from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory is providing more clues. This analysis suggests that the supernova explosion was not only more powerful, but might have also occurred at a greater distance, than previously thought.

Unlike other well-known Type Ia supernovas and their remnants, Kepler’s debris field is being strongly shaped by what it is running into. More specifically, most Type Ia supernova remnants are very symmetrical, but the Kepler remnant is asymmetrical with a bright arc of X-ray emission in its northern region. This indicates the expanding ball of debris from the supernova explosion is plowing into the gas and dust around the now-dead star.

Full Story: http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2012/kepler/
Also: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/chandra/multimedia/kepler_remnant.html

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