Chandra and XMM X-ray color image of Puppis A
Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/IAFE/G.Dubner et al & ESA/XMM-Newton

The Complete Puppis A

A supernova, the explosive destruction of a massive star, ejects enormous amounts of matter and energy into interstellar space. This matter interacts violently with the surrounding gas and dust and, for awhile, the million-degree gas produced glows brightly in X-rays. The extended remnant is shaped both by the geometry of the explosion as well as the shape of the surrounding gas and dust. A beautiful example of a young supernova remnant is Puppis A, shown above in X-ray colors derived from Chandra X-ray Observatory and XMM-Newton images - blue shows high energy X-rays, green medium, and red low-energy X-rays. This image is the first complete high-resolution X-ray image ever obtained, and shows in spectacular detail how the blast wave from the supernova crashed into its surroundings, from an explosion which would have been seen from earth about 4000 years ago. The complex structure of filaments seen in the X-ray image shows that the interstellar medium surrounding Puppis A is very inhomogeneous. Also visible in the image above is a small point source of X-rays near the center of the remnant; this object is believed to be the left-behind core of the star which exploded, an incredibly small dense neutron star, hurtling out of the remnant.
Published: September 29, 2014

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Each week the HEASARC brings you new, exciting and beautiful images from X-ray and Gamma ray astronomy. Check back each week and be sure to check out the HEAPOW archive!
Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Monday, 29-Sep-2014 08:02:21 EDT