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 When helium behaves like a black hole
22.03.2017 | University of Vermont

nachricht Astronomers hazard a ride in a 'drifting carousel' to understand pulsating stars
22.03.2017 | International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research

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: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Pulverizing electronic waste is green, clean -- and cold

22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers hazard a ride in a 'drifting carousel' to understand pulsating stars

22.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New gel-like coating beefs up the performance of lithium-sulfur batteries

22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>