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Dazzling imagery of supernova remnant holds clues about star’s death (video)

Astronomers have traced the timeline of a stellar explosion in a neighboring galaxy using data from three NASA telescopes.

Whenever a massive star reaches the finish of its life, it explodes in an excellent burst of light referred to as a supernova. These stellar explosions leave behind colorful remnants of material ejected by the violent blast.

One particular supernova remnant, called SNR 0519-69.0 (SNR 0519 for short), may be the leftover debris from an explosion of a white dwarf star several century ago, from our perspective here on the planet. It really is located 160,000 light-years from Earth in a Milky Way companion galaxy referred to as the Large Magellanic Cloud.

Related: Supernova photos: Great images of star explosions

A composite image of the supernova remnant SNR 0519-69.0, created using data from NASA's Hubble and Chandra space telescopes.

A composite image of the supernova remnant SNR 0519-69.0, made out of data from NASA’s Hubble and Chandra space telescopes. (Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/GSFC/B. J. Williams et al.; Optical: NASA/ESA/STScI)

Using data from NASAs Chandra X-ray Observatory, Hubble Space Telescope and recently retired Spitzer Space Telescope, astronomers could actually determine roughly just how long ago the star in SNR 0519 exploded and what its cosmic environment was like in the past, in accordance with a statement (opens in new tab) from the Chandra X-ray Observatory.

“This data provides scientists an opportunity to ‘rewind’ the movie of the stellar evolution which has played out since and find out when it got started,” Chandra associates wrote in the statement.

SNR 0519, classified as a sort Ia supernova, may be the consequence of a white dwarf star reaching critical mass by pulling matter from the companion star or merging with another white dwarf. Astronomers measured the speed of material in the blast wave from the explosion by comparing Hubble images used 2010, 2011 and 2020, which claim that light from the explosion reached Earth about 670 years back traveling at 5.5 million mph (9 million kph).

However, data from Chandra and Spitzer claim that the material in the blast wave likely slowed up after crashing into dense clouds of surrounding gas. If that’s so, the original explosion could have occurred recently than 670 years back. Further observations from Hubble can help pinpoint exactly once the star exploded, based on the statement.

Utilizing the data from the three telescopes, astronomers could actually develop a composite image of SNR 0519, which NASA released on Sept. 12. The Chandra data captures X-rays from SNR 0519 with low, medium and high energies shown in green, blue, and purple, respectively.

Optical data from Hubble shows the perimeter of the remnant in red, alongside surrounding stars in white. The brightest regions in the X-ray data represent the slowest-moving material, whereas areas without X-ray emissions are connected with faster-moving material, based on the statement.

Their findings were published Aug. 18 (opens in new tab) in the Astrophysical Journal.

Follow Samantha Mathewson @Sam_Ashley13. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Facebook (opens in new tab).

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Samantha Mathewson joined Space.com being an intern in the summertime of 2016. She received a B.A. in Journalism and Environmental Science at the University of New Haven, in Connecticut. Previously, her work has been published in Nature World News. You should definitely writing or reading about science, Samantha enjoys planing a trip to new places and taking photos! It is possible to follow her on Twitter @Sam_Ashley13.

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