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Hardy Star Survives Supernova Blast (NASA, Chandra, 03/20/14)
Image by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center
When a huge star runs out fuel, it collapses and explodes as a supernova. Despite the fact that these explosions are extremely strong, it is attainable for a companion star to endure the blast. A team of astronomers employing NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes has discovered evidence for one particular of these survivors.
This hardy star is in a stellar explosion’s debris field – also named its supernova remnant – located in an HII region referred to as DEM L241. An HII (pronounced "H-two") area is developed when the radiation from hot, young stars strips away the electrons from neutral hydrogen atoms (HI) to form clouds of ionized hydrogen (HII). This HII area is situated in the Massive Magellanic Cloud, a tiny companion galaxy to the Milky Way.
A new composite image of DEM L241 contains Chandra data (purple) that outlines the supernova remnant. The remnant remains hot and for that reason X-ray vibrant for thousands of years soon after the original explosion occurred. Also incorporated in this image are optical data from the Magellanic Cloud Emission Line Survey (MCELS) taken from ground-primarily based telescopes in Chile (yellow and cyan), which trace the HII emission produced by DEM L241. Extra optical data from the Digitized Sky Survey (white) are also included, showing stars in the field.
R. Davies, K. Elliott, and J. Meaburn, whose last initials were combined to give the object the very first half of its name, first mapped DEM L241 in 1976. The recent data from Chandra revealed the presence of a point-like X-ray supply at the exact same location as a young enormous star within DEM L241’s supernova remnant.
Astronomers can appear at the particulars of the Chandra data to glean critical clues about the nature of X-ray sources. For example, how vibrant the X-rays are, how they adjust more than time, and how they are distributed across the variety of power that Chandra observes.
In this case, the information recommend that the point-like source is one particular component of a binary star technique. In such a celestial pair, either a neutron star or black hole (formed when the star went supernova) is in orbit with a star significantly larger than our Sun. As they orbit 1 another, the dense neutron star or black hole pulls material away its companion star by way of the wind of particles that flows away from its surface. If this outcome is confirmed, DEM L241 would be only the third binary containing each a huge star and a neutron star or black hole ever located in the aftermath of a supernova.
Chandra’s X-ray information also show that the inside of the supernova remnant is enriched in oxygen, neon and magnesium. This enrichment and the presence of the enormous star imply that the star that exploded had a mass higher than 25 instances, to perhaps up to 40 times, that of the Sun.
Optical observations with the South African Astronomical Observatory’s 1.9-meter telescope show the velocity of the huge star is altering and that it orbits about the neutron star or black hole with a period of tens of days. A detailed measurement of the velocity variation of the enormous companion star must give a definitive test of no matter whether or not the binary consists of a black hole.
Indirect proof currently exists that other supernova remnants had been formed by the collapse of a star to kind a black hole. Nevertheless, if the collapsed star in DEM L241 turns out to be a black hole, it would supply the strongest proof however for such a catastrophic occasion.
What does the future hold for this program? If the most current thinking is correct, the surviving massive star will be destroyed in a supernova explosion some millions of years from now. When it does, it may possibly type a binary program containing two neutron stars or a neutron star and a black hole, or even a method with two black holes.
A paper describing these benefits is offered on-line and was published in the November 10, 2012 concern of The Astrophysical Journal. The authors are Fred Seward of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, MA P. Charles from University of Southampton, UK D. Foster from the South African Astronomical Observatory in Cape Town, South Africa J. Dickel and P. Romero from University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, NM Z. Edwards, M. Perry and R. Williams from Columbus State University in Columbus, GA.
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra system for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Mass., controls Chandra’s science and flight operations.
Original caption/more images: chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2014/deml241/
Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/F.Seward et al Optical: NOAO/CTIO/MCELS, DSS
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Upsala Glacier Retreat, Patagonia Icefield (NASA, International Space Station, ten/02/13)
Image by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center
Upsala Glacier Retreat and Patagonia Icefield are featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 37 crew member on the International Space Station. This photograph highlights the snout of the Upsala Glacier (49.88S 73.3W) on the Argentine side of the North Patagonian Icefield. Ice flow in this glacier (white mass, left) is from the north (left). Dark lines of rocky moraine inside the ice give a sense of the slow ice flow from left to correct. A smaller sized side glacier joins Upsala at the present-day ice front — the wall from which masses of ice periodically collapse into Lake Argentino. In this image the two.75-kilometer-lengthy wall casts a thin, dark shadow. The surface of Lake Argentino is whitened by a mass of ice debris from a current collapse of the ice wall. Larger icebergs that have calved seem as white dots on the lake surface at appropriate.
Remotely sensed data, like detailed astronaut photos such as this, have recorded the position of the ice front over the years. Even although the ice actually flows slowly southward, comparison of this October 2013 image with older data (not shown) indicates that the ice wall of the glacier has moved backwards — upstream — an average of three.six kilometers given that early 2002. This so-called "retreat" is believed by scientists to indicate local climatic warming in this element of South America. The warming not only causes the ice front to retreat but more importantly, causes all round thinning of the glacier ice mass, as a study of 63 glaciers in Patagonia has shown is now a general trend (Rignot et al. 2003). Ice-front retreat is now identified to be connected to volumetric loss due to melting. Water colour is related to glacier flow. Lake Argentino receives most of the ice from the glacier and hence also receives most of the "rock flour" (rocks ground to white powder by the ice scraping against the rock floor of the valley) from underneath the glacier. Glacial flour turns the lake water a gray-green hue in this image. The darker blue of the smaller sized lakes (best) indicates that they are getting significantly much less rock flour.
Image credit: NASA
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Lengthy Island Sound, New Jersey Coast (NASA, International Space Station Science, 11/ten/06)
Image by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center
Editor’s Note: This is an archive image from 2006.
This image featuring a southeast-hunting view of the Long Island Sound and New Jersey coast, with the reduce Hudson River and New York Bay in the region of brightest sunglint was photographed by an Expedition 14 crewmember on the International Space Station. On the far correct a gray haze can be observed streaming out to sea offshore of New Jersey, exactly where it becomes harder to see. In fact haze covers most of the visible region offshore, partly obscuring the sea surface. By contrast, clouds appear fairly different from haze according to scientists. Clouds usually have sharp margins and are pure white, as clouds at the bottom show. Industrial haze is grayer and more diffuse, and is common of the air more than the Northeast. Flow lines show that winds are transporting the haze in clockwise fashion–i.e. bending south–which in turn signifies that a high stress system was operating on that day, centered roughly more than the coast. High stress systems are notorious for advertising smog events because they bring clear skies, and sunlight promotes smog formation. Highs also concentrate polluted surface layers near the ground.
Image/caption credit: NASA
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