A 3D View of a Supernova Remnant

A false-color X-ray image by Chandra of the Tycho supernova remnant, first discovered in 1572. [NASA/CXC/Rutgers/J.Warren & J.Hughes et al.]
Susanna Kohler

Researchers have provided the first three-dimensional view of the ejecta of a Type Ia supernova.


Using data of Tycho's supernova remnant from the Chandra X-ray observatory taken over a 12 year baseline (2005-2013), the team of scientists led by Dr Brian Williams (STSI and NASA Goddard SFC) and including ARC Future Fellow Dr Ivo Seitenzahl (School of PEMS), could map out the proper 3D motions of 57 individual clumps of silicon-rich material flung out into space by the thermonuclear supernova explosion Tycho Brahe observed in 1572. Tycho's ejecta displays no significant asymmetries, pointing towards an almost spherically symmetric explosion. The first 3D map of the aftermath of a Type Ia supernova is an important step towards our yet incomplete understanding of these explosions that have been essential in proving the acceleration of the expansion of our Universe. Consequently, the article (Williams et al 2017, ApJ, 842, 28. http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/1538-4357/aa7384/meta) has been featured as a research highlight from the journals of the American Astronomical Society on AAS Nova http://aasnova.org/2017/06/14/a-3d-view-of-a-supernova-remnant/.