This Strange But Beautiful Space Blob Came from a Dying Star
NASA released a spectacular image of a supernova remnant, the leftover pieces from after the death of a star. Named Tycho, after the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, who noticed it in the night sky back in 1572, the remnant is a beautiful combination of many shapes and colors.
"Astronomers now know that Tycho’s new star was not new at all. Rather it signaled the death of a star in a supernova, an explosion so bright that it can outshine the light from an entire galaxy. This particular supernova was a Type Ia, which occurs when a white dwarf star pulls material from, or merges with, a nearby companion star until a violent explosion is triggered. The white dwarf star is obliterated, sending its debris hurtling into space," reads NASA's announcement.
The image of the remnant was made possible due to NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory that has captured unparalleled X-ray images of many supernova remnants. But the image is not just beautiful, it provides clues to the history of Tycho.
"To emphasize the clumps in the image and the three-dimensional nature of Tycho, scientists selected two narrow ranges of X-ray energies to isolate material (silicon, colored red) moving away from Earth, and moving towards us (also silicon, colored blue). The other colors in the image (yellow, green, blue-green, orange and purple) show a broad range of different energies and elements, and a mixture of directions of motion. In this new composite image, Chandra’s X-ray data have been combined with an optical image of the stars in the same field of view from the Digitized Sky Survey," read NASA's statement.