Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

X-rays emitted from the remnant of a supernova provide clues to its explosive history

15.02.2010
X-rays emitted from the remnant of a supernova provide clues to its explosive history

The supernova remnant known as the Jellyfish Nebula and IC 443 lies 5,000 light years away from Earth in the Gemini constellation. Left after a stellar explosion, the remnant—hot plasma, surrounded by a cooler shell—is the first of its type to be observed by astronomers1. The finding is based on x-ray data collected aboard the Suzaku satellite.

“The satellite data have enabled us to investigate the explosion mechanisms that led to this supernova, as well as what was happening within the star before it exploded,” explains Hiroya Yamaguchi from the RIKEN Advanced Science Institute, Wako, who led the multi-institutional study.

Light, from long radio waves to x-rays, carries information about the activity in a stellar explosion. Both hot ions and fast moving electrons radiate x-rays in IC 443, which at 4,000 years old is considered a middle-aged remnant. Astronomers estimate the temperature of the ions and electrons in the remnant plasma by measuring the spectrum of these x-rays—that is, how the x-ray intensity varies with energy. The electron and ion temperatures, and any difference between them, yield clues as to how the star exploded and progressed through time.

Yamaguchi and his team noticed a curious discrepancy by analyzing the x-ray spectrum of IC 443: the silicon and sulfur ions, which are estimated to be a searing 14 million degrees Celsius, are nearly twice as hot as the electrons. In fact, the silicon and sulfur ions are so hot that some of them are completely stripped of their electrons.

“This is the first discovery of such spectral features in the x-rays emitted by a supernova remnant,” explains Yamaguchi.

This conclusive evidence for the process that astronomers call ‘overionization’ suggests that when the star that produced IC 443 exploded, a blast wave heated the dense gas around the star to the very high temperatures that stripped the electrons from the silicon and sulfur ions. This was followed by a shock wave that caused the gas to expand and allowed the electrons to cool, but rarefied the ions so much that they could not cool down again.

“Gamma-ray bursts and hypernova—which have energies more than 10 times that of supernova—are known to be some of the most energetic and explosive events in the universe, but the detailed explosion mechanism and nature of their progenitors are still unknown,” says Yamaguchi. “The application of our method will play an important role to solve these issues.”

The corresponding author for this highlight is based at the Cosmic Radiation Laboratory, RIKEN Advanced Science Institute

Saeko Okada | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.rikenresearch.riken.jp/eng/research/6180
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Electrocatalysis can advance green transition
23.01.2017 | Technical University of Denmark

nachricht Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin
23.01.2017 | Ferdinand-Braun-Institut Leibniz-Institut für Höchstfrequenztechnik

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: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Efficient time synchronization of sensor networks by means of time series analysis

24.01.2017 | Information Technology

Immune Defense Without Collateral Damage

24.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Open, flexible assembly platform for optical systems

24.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>