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024549

For the first time, a multiwavelength three-dimensional reconstruction of a supernova remnant has been created. This stunning visualization of Cassiopeia A, or Cas A, the result of an explosion approximately 330 years ago, uses data from several telescopes: X-ray data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, infrared data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and optical data from the National Optical Astronomy Observatory 4-meter telescope at Kitt Peak, Ariz., and the Michigan-Dartmouth-MIT 2.4-meter telescope, also at Kitt Peak. In this visualization, the green region is mostly iron observed in X-rays. The yellow region is a combination of argon and silicon seen in X-rays, optical, and infrared—including jets of silicon—plus outer debris seen in the optical. The red region is cold debris seen in the infrared. Finally, the blue reveals the outer blast wave, most prominently detected in X-rays. Most of the material shown in this visualization is debris from the explosion that has been heated by a shock moving inwards. The red material interior to the yellow/orange ring has not yet encountered the inward moving shock and so has not yet been heated.

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024549.jpg
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Irish Photo Archive
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For the first time, a multiwavelength three-dimensional reconstruction of a supernova remnant has been created. This stunning visualization of Cassiopeia A, or Cas A, the result of an explosion approximately 330 years ago, uses data from several telescopes: X-ray data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, infrared data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and optical data from the National Optical Astronomy Observatory 4-meter telescope at Kitt Peak, Ariz., and the Michigan-Dartmouth-MIT 2.4-meter telescope, also at Kitt Peak. In this visualization, the green region is mostly iron observed in X-rays. The yellow region is a combination of argon and silicon seen in X-rays, optical, and infrared—including jets of silicon—plus outer debris seen in the optical. The red region is cold debris seen in the infrared. Finally, the blue reveals the outer blast wave, most prominently detected in X-rays. Most of the material shown in this visualization is debris from the explosion that has been heated by a shock moving inwards. The red material interior to the yellow/orange ring has not yet encountered the inward moving shock and so has not yet been heated.