tagged with: astronomy, star galaxies, outer space picture, supernova explosion, supernovae remnant, youngest supernova, milky way youngest supernova, cosmic ray, neutron star, cassasn
Galaxies, Stars and Nebulae series This extraordinarily deep Chandra image shows Cassiopeia A (Cas A, for short), the youngest supernova remnant in the Milky Way. New analysis shows that this supernova remnant acts like a relativistic pinball machine by accelerating electrons to enormous energies. The blue, wispy arcs in the image show where the acceleration is taking place in an expanding shock wave generated by the explosion. The red and green regions show material from the destroyed star that has been heated to millions of degrees by the explosion.
Astronomers have used this data to make a map, for the first time, of the acceleration of electrons in a supernova remnant. Their analysis shows that the electrons are being accelerated to almost the maximum theoretical limit in some parts of Cas A. Protons and ions, which make up the bulk of cosmic rays, are expected to be accelerated in a similar way to the electrons. Therefore, this discovery provides strong evidence that supernova remnants are key sites for energizing cosmic rays.
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image code: cassasn
Image credit: NASA/CXC/MIT/UMass Amherst/M.D. Stage et al.
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