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Astronomers Uncover the Legacy of a 12th Century Supernova with Multi-Telescope Observations
A composite image showcasing the supernova 1181 remnant. A luminous, spherical nebula is central, with radial lines resembling fireworks emanating from a central star, set against a backdrop of stars.
Astronomers Uncover the Legacy of a 12th Century Supernova with Multi-Telescope Observations
by Erica Marchand
Paris, France (SPX) Mar 27, 2024

In 1181, observers from different parts of the world were captivated by the appearance of a new 'star' in the constellation Cassiopeia, an event now identified as a rare supernova explosion. Visible for 185 days, this supernova shone with the brightness of Saturn, embedding itself in historical records.

The search for the remnants of this celestial phenomenon has puzzled astronomers for centuries. Initially thought to be associated with the pulsar 3C 58, further research indicated that the pulsar predates the supernova. The discovery of Pa 30, a nearly circular nebula with a central star located in the same constellation, marked a turning point. This nebula, through combined images from various telescopes, presents a detailed view of what was once an 800-year-old spectacle.

The European Space Agency's XMM-Newton and NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory have been instrumental in mapping the nebula's full extent and central source, respectively. Despite its faint appearance in optical light, the nebula is vivid in infrared, captured by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Space Explorer. The Hiltner 2.4 m telescope at the MDM Observatory and Pan-STARRS in Hawaii have contributed to observing its sulphur-rich radial structure and the surrounding stars, illustrating a composite image across the electromagnetic spectrum.

Scientific analysis suggests that the supernova was a Type Iax event, a less common thermonuclear explosion resulting from the merger of two white dwarf stars. Unlike typical supernovae, this event left behind a 'zombie' star, a massive white dwarf characterized by its extreme temperature and swift stellar wind. This remnant, one of the Milky Way's hottest stars, provides a unique lens through which to study the mechanics of such rare cosmic occurrences.

This collaborative effort among international telescopes underscores the importance of multi-wavelength astronomy in unraveling the mysteries of the universe. The legacy of the supernova of 1181, through the lens of modern technology, offers a glimpse into the dynamic and ever-changing cosmos.

Research Report:Basic Pulsar Science at ESA

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Stellar Chemistry, The Universe And All Within It

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Europe space telescope's sight restored after de-icing procedure
Paris (AFP) Mar 26, 2024
The vision of the Euclid space telescope has been restored following a delicate operation that successfully melted a thin layer of ice that had been clouding its sight, the European Space Agency announced on Tuesday. There had been fears that the creeping ice could delay the mission of Europe's space telescope, which blasted off in July on the world's first mission to investigate the cosmic mysteries of dark matter and dark energy. However a de-icing procedure to gently warm up an optimal mirror ... read more

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