Chandra image of G1.9+0.3 supernova remnant
Credit: NASA/CXC/NCSU/K.Borkowski et al.

Hidden Supernova

It seems hard to hide a supernova, the complete explosive destruction of a star - but evidently that's happened. In 2008 astronomers, using the Chandra X-ray Observatory, found a glowing mass of X-ray emitting gas near the center of the Milky Way. Optical images showed absolutely nothing out of the ordinary, since the remnant is hidden behind a large mass of dust - but X-rays (and radio waves emitted by the remnant) penetrate the dust to reveal the explosion. Oddly enough, as seen from earth, the supernova must have occurred only 140 years ago, making it the most recent Milky Way supernova. How many more remain to be discovered?
Published: July 15, 2013

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Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Monday, 22-Jul-2013 21:03:43 EDT