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Image of the Week – Tycho’s Dust Bunny

29 Mar 2011, 20:41 UTC
Image of the Week – Tycho’s Dust Bunny
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

NASA’s Chandra Space Telescope has produced a breathtaking image of 3C 10, otherwise known as SN 1572 and B Cassiopeiae or more commonly Tycho’s Supernova Remnant.

SN 1572 Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Rutgers/K.Eriksen et al.; Optical: DSS

The image shows the Chandra X-ray data overlayed against the background stars as observed by the DSS.
The supernova is a Type 1a detonation – the explosion created when a white dwarf star accretes too much material from a companion star and rips itself apart in a chain reaction fusion reaction.
The red ‘fluff’ in the image represents low energy X-rays from the material thrown out by the supernova as it expands into space. The blue outer shell shows the location of much higher energy X-rays from the outer edge of the blast wave itself.
Most interestingly the image shows bright stripes of X-ray emission, which are more visible in this enhanced image.

Enhanced X-ray image of SN 1572 Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Rutgers/K.Eriksen et al.
The stripes are interesting as they represent incredibly high energy electrons which had been theorised to be produced within SNRs but had never been directly detected as they were expected to be difficult to detect due to ...

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