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How Many Years Does it Take to Get to the Center of a Supernova Remnant?

23 Feb 2021, 17:00 UTC
How Many Years Does it Take to Get to the Center of a Supernova Remnant?
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Editor’s note: Astrobites is a graduate-student-run organization that digests astrophysical literature for undergraduate students. As part of the partnership between the AAS and astrobites, we occasionally repost astrobites content here at AAS Nova. We hope you enjoy this post from astrobites; the original can be viewed at astrobites.org.
Title: Indication of a Pulsar Wind Nebula in the hard X-ray emission from SN 1987A
Authors: Emanuele Greco et al.
First Author’s Institution: University of Palermo, Italy
Status: Accepted to ApJL
In 1987 astronomers witnessed the closest supernova in almost 400 years, subsequently called SN 1987A. At only 51.4 kiloparsecs (or about 167,000 light-years), SN 1987A’s home is in the Large Magellanic Cloud, and it was visible in the Southern Hemisphere with the naked eye for a few months before it faded. But one question that remains unanswered is what kind of object was left behind. The original star that created SN 1987A was a blue supergiant, which would have left behind either a black hole or a neutron star. Yet even with decades of observations by many telescopes spanning the electromagnetic spectrum, its nature has yet to be confirmed.
Why are astronomers still trying to figure out what was left behind ...

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