Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Supernova remnants dance in the LMC

14.01.2008
Gemini image release

The Gemini South Multi-Object Spectograph (GMOS) recently captured a dramatic image of a vast cloud complex named DEM L316 located in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The peanut-shaped nebula appears to be a single object, but the latest research indicates that it is really comprised of two distinct gas and dust clouds formed by different types of supernova explosions.

The new image reveals the intricate tendrils of gas and dust located in the remnants of the stellar explosions that created the still-expanding cloud complex. The object was first recognized in the early 1970s as a supernova remnant, a type of object that is enriched with elements created in stellar explosions. The nebula was likely created a few tens of thousands of years ago by more than one type of supernova exploding in this region of the Large Magellanic Cloud.

Figure 2: (background) Wide-field image of DEM L316 and its surroundings in the LMC as seen by the MCELS survey. The inset shows the extent of the new Gemini image.

"The remarkable clarity of these Gemini-South observations shows the complex shock structure of these two supernova remnants in impressive detail," said Dr. Rosa Williams of Columbus State University, an astronomer who has studied DEM L316 extensively. "It's a great step forward in efforts to understand this fascinating pair of remnants - whether they represent only a chance alignment on the sky or some as-yet uncovered physical relationship."

Other recent observations of DEM L316 by the Chandra and XMM-Newton X-ray space telescopes have strengthened the idea that the cloud is actually two supernova remnants that are aligned in the sky by chance and not a single remnant with a distorted bi-polar shape. The Chandra observations reveal that the chemical compositions of the two shells are very different. This is a strong hint that they were created in very different types of supernova outbursts. The data show that the smaller shell (lower left in the GMOS image) contains significantly more iron than the larger one. The high abundance of iron in the small bubble indicates that the gas is the product of a Type Ia supernova. This type of explosion is triggered by the infall of matter from a star onto a white dwarf. Since white dwarf stars are extremely old objects, the system must have been a few billion years old when this supernova explosion took place.

By contrast, the larger, less iron-rich bubble is the result of a Type II supernova that was triggered by the collapse of a massive star (more than seven times the mass of our Sun) when it was only a few million years old. Since the two progenitor systems had vastly different ages when they “went supernova”, there is little chance they came from the same system. Therefore, while the detailed structure seen in the GMOS image makes it look like the two bubbles are colliding, they only seem to be close together in the sky because of a chance alignment in our line of sight.

The Large Magellanic Cloud is a sister satellite galaxy to our Milky Way and lies about 160,000 light-years away in the direction of the constellation Dorado. The DEM L316 nebula is located within the LMC and its two bubbles extend over a distance of about 140 light-years (roughly 35 times larger than the distance between our Sun and its nearest stellar neighbor).

Peter Michaud | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.gemini.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth
17.11.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Pluto's hydrocarbon haze keeps dwarf planet colder than expected
16.11.2017 | University of California - Santa Cruz

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>