Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Massive Star's Afterlife: A Supernova Seeds New Planets

Massive Star's Afterlife: A Supernova Seeds New Planets
A spectacular new image shows how complex a star's afterlife can be. By studying the details of this image made from a long observation by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, astronomers can better understand how some stars die and disperse elements like oxygen into the next generation of stars and planets.

At a distance of about 20,000 light years, G292.0+1.8 is one of only three supernova remnants in the Milky Way known to contain large amounts of oxygen. The image shows a rapidly expanding, intricately structured, debris field that contains, along with oxygen, other elements such as neon and silicon that were forged in the star before it exploded.



Supernova remnant G292.0+1.8 – click for 792×792 image


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