Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. 24/7 Space News .




STELLAR CHEMISTRY
A Star Explodes, Turns Inside-Out
by Staff Writer
Boston TX (SPX) Apr 02, 2012


Credits: Illustration: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss; Image: NASA/CXC/GSFC/U. Hwang and J. Laming

A new X-ray study of the remains of an exploded star indicates that the supernova that disrupted the massive star may have turned it inside out in the process. Using very long observations of Cassiopeia A (or Cas A), a team of scientists has mapped the distribution of elements in the supernova remnant in unprecedented detail.

This information shows where the different layers of the pre-supernova star are located three hundred years after the explosion, and provides insight into the nature of the supernova.

An artist's illustration shows a simplified picture of the inner layers of the star that formed Cas A just before it exploded, with the predominant concentrations of different elements represented by different colors: iron in the core (blue), overlaid by sulfur and silicon (green), then magnesium, neon and oxygen (red).

The image from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory uses the same color scheme to show the distribution of iron, sulfur and magnesium in the supernova remnant. The data show that the distributions of sulfur and silicon are similar, as are the distributions of magnesium and neon.

Oxygen, which according to theoretical models is the most abundant element in the remnant, is difficult to detect because the X-ray emission characteristic of oxygen ions is strongly absorbed by gas in along the line of sight to Cas A, and because almost all the oxygen ions have had all their electrons stripped away.

A comparison of the illustration and the Chandra element map shows clearly that most of the iron, which according to theoretical models of the pre-supernova was originally on the inside of the star, is now located near the outer edges of the remnant.

Surprisingly, there is no evidence from X-ray (Chandra) or infrared (Spitzer Space Telescope) observations for iron near the center of the remnant, where it was formed.

Also, much of the silicon and sulfur, as well as the magnesium, is now found toward the outer edges of the still-expanding debris. The distribution of the elements indicates that a strong instability in the explosion process somehow turned the star inside out.

This latest work, which builds on earlier Chandra observations, represents the most detailed study ever made of X-ray emitting debris in Cas A, or any other supernova remnant resulting from the explosion of a massive star.

It is based on a million seconds of Chandra observing time. Tallying up what they see in the Chandra data, astronomers estimate that the total amount of X-ray emitting debris has a mass just over three times that of the Sun. This debris was found to contain about 0.13 times the mass of the Sun in iron, 0.03 in sulfur and only 0.01 in magnesium.

The researchers found clumps of almost pure iron, indicating that this material must have been produced by nuclear reactions near the center of the pre-supernova star, where the neutron star was formed.

That such pure iron should exist was anticipated because another signature of this type of nuclear reaction is the formation of the radioactive nucleus titanium-44, or Ti-44. Emission from Ti-44, which is unstable with a half-life of 63 years, has been detected in Cas A with several high-energy observatories including the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, BeppoSAX, and the International Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory (INTEGRAL).

These results appeared in the February 20th issue of The Astrophysical Journal in a paper by Una Hwang of Goddard Space Flight Center and Johns Hopkins University, and (John) Martin Laming of the Naval Research Laboratory.

Access more images here

.


Related Links
Chandra
Stellar Chemistry, The Universe And All Within It






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Sofia Captures Images Of The Planetary Nebula M2-9
Washington DC (SPX) Apr 02, 2012
Researchers using NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) have captured infrared images of the last exhalations of a dying Sun-like star. The object observed by SOFIA, planetary nebula Minkowski 2-9, or M2-9 for short, is seen in this three-color composite image. The SOFIA observations were made at the mid-infrared wavelengths of 20, 24, and 37 microns. The 37-micro ... read more


STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Flying Formation - Around the Moon at 3,600 MPH

NASA's Grail MoonKam Returns First Student-Selected Lunar Images

Ecliptic "MoonKAM" Systems Begin Operations in Lunar Orbit

Two New NASA LRO Videos: See Moon's Evolution, Take a Tour

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Dusty, Acidic Glaciers Could Explain Layered Deposits on Mars

Slight Drop Of Left-Front Wheel

'Mount Sharp' On Mars Links Geology's Past and Future

A glow in the Martian night throws light on atmospheric circulation

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Conservatives' trust in science has fallen dramatically since mid-1970s

First the smart phone, now the smart home

NASA Space Network to Begin New Design Phase For Ground Segment

Leading Government Space Programs Under Strong Budget Pressure

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
China's Lunar Docking

Shenzhou-9 may take female astronaut to space

China to launch 100 satellites during 2011-15

Three for Tiangong

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Aerojet Propulsion Helps Deliver Astronaut Care Packages

Soyuz return from ISS set for April 27

European cargo vessel docks with space station

Beaming Success for ISS Fans

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Space Launch System Program Completes Step One of Combined Milestone Reviews

Russian Proton-M Puts Military Satellite into Orbit

ORS SpaceLoft-6 launch to test reliability, durability of payloads in suborbital voyage

China launches French-made communication satellite

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Billions of Habitable Zone Rocky Planets Could be Orbiting Red Dwarf Stars

Runaway Planets Zoom at a Fraction of Light-Speed

Some orbits more popular than others in solar systems

Herschel's new view on giant planet formation

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Dell buys 'cloud' computing company Wyse

Ultrafast laser pulses shed light on elusive superconducting mechanism

'Full-body' audit finds abuses at China Apple plants

ORNL process converts polyethylene into carbon fiber




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement