New supernova remnant lights up

Jun 08, 2011
This HST image of SN 1987A shows the brightening ring of supernova debris. The closest supernova explosion seen in almost 400 years, it is located in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Credit: Pete Challis (CfA)

(PhysOrg.com) -- In 1987, light from an exploding star in a neighboring galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud, reached Earth. Named Supernova 1987A, it was the closest supernova explosion witnessed in almost 400 years, allowing astronomers to study it in unprecedented detail as it evolves.

Today a team of astronomers announced that the supernova debris, which has faded over the years, is brightening. This shows that a different power source has begun to light the debris, and marks the transition from a supernova to a supernova remnant.

"Supernova 1987A has become the youngest supernova remnant visible to us," said Robert Kirshner of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA).

Kirshner leads a long-term study of SN 1987A with NASA's . Since its launch in 1990, Hubble has provided a continuous record of the changes in SN 1987A.

As shown in the accompanying image, SN 1987A is surrounded by a ring of material that blew off the progenitor star thousands of years before it exploded. The ring is about one light-year (6 trillion miles) across. Inside that ring, the "guts" of the star are rushing outward in an expanding debris cloud.

Most of a supernova's light comes from of elements created in the explosion. As a result, it fades over time. However, the debris from SN 1987A has begun to brighten, suggesting that a new power source is lighting it.

"It’s only possible to see this brightening because SN 1987A is so close and Hubble has such sharp vision," Kirshner said.

A supernova remnant consists of material ejected from an , as well as the interstellar material it sweeps up. The debris of SN 1987A is beginning to impact the surrounding ring, creating powerful shock waves that generate X-rays observed with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. Those X-rays are illuminating the supernova debris and shock heating is making it glow. The same process powers well-known in our galaxy like Cassiopeia A.

Because it's so young, the remnant of SN 1987A still shows the history of the last few thousand years of the star's life recorded in the knots and whorls of gas. By studying it further, astronomers may decode that history.

"Young supernova remnants have personality," Kirshner agreed.

Eventually, that history will be lost when the bulk of the expanding stellar debris hits the surrounding ring and shreds it. Until then, SN 1987A continues to offer an unprecedented opportunity to watch a cosmic object change over the course of a human lifetime. Few other objects in the sky evolve on such short time-scales.

This research appears in a paper in the June 9, 2011 issue of Nature. The first author is Josefin Larsson (University of Stockholm).

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User comments : 37

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jjoensuu
2.7 / 5 (9) Jun 08, 2011
weird, that thing in the middle looks like a chicken head.

Does this mean that we are not alone? That we share the universe with an advanced species of intergalactic chickens?
Vendicar_Decarian
1.5 / 5 (8) Jun 08, 2011
Why is there a chick head in the middle of that ring?

It must be a sign from Yowae.
yyz
3.4 / 5 (5) Jun 08, 2011
"Today a team of astronomers announced that the supernova debris, which has faded over the years, is brightening....."

I'm a bit confused as to why this "new" observation of the brightening of the circumstellar ring surrounding SN 1987A is newsworthy. The eventual collision of material from the SN was predicted (and observed) some time ago.

A HST movie of the ring brightening of SN 1987A from 1994 to 2006 can be viewed here: http://www.youtub...71_n7CFQ

(also note the changes in the peculiar central nebular region over this time period too)

Similar observations by Chandra also followed the gradual brightening of the ring in X-rays, just as expected: http://arxiv.org/...09v1.pdf

(note the progressive ring brightening in X-rays shown in Fig. 1)

It seems as the brightening of this CS ring "like pearls on a string" is a well documented fact (and a QUITE impressive display of a young SNR taking shape).

ArkavianX
1 / 5 (2) Jun 08, 2011
There was an amazing video of two smoke rings colliding together, showed the same pearly effect, probably same or similar mechanics.
pauljpease
4.7 / 5 (13) Jun 08, 2011
Why is there a chick head in the middle of that ring?

It must be a sign from Yowae.


I think it's a sign from our evolutionary past telling us that human brains tend to see faces in random shapes.
Doschx
4.4 / 5 (7) Jun 08, 2011
As you can see, there is a chicken and an egg, therefore the cosmos has decreed that the chicken and the egg came forth simultaneously, a veritable quantum superposition of existence. Therefore, chickens are quantum beings in direct contact with the superior forces of the universe and we should all bend a knee before KFC.
Vendicar_Decarian
2.7 / 5 (6) Jun 08, 2011
"there is a chicken and an egg"- Doschx

I reach. But now I'm thinking that the chicken head might actually be resolving over time into the image of Homer Simpson.

Doh!
Caliban
1 / 5 (1) Jun 08, 2011
What the hell is wrong with you people? Clearly, it is Laertes struggling with the python!
Vendicar_Decarian
2.6 / 5 (5) Jun 09, 2011
Oh, man, that Leertes and the Python reference is way to sexual for me.

Think of the children.
eachus
3 / 5 (2) Jun 09, 2011
As you can see, there is a chicken and an egg, therefore the cosmos has decreed that the chicken and the egg came forth simultaneously, a veritable quantum superposition of existence.


No, the egg was formed before SN 1987A exploded, and the chicken formed after. So the egg came first, but everyone knew that all along, right?
Ethelred
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 09, 2011
You guys just have the wrong point of view. Looks like a goldfish cracker more than a chicken. Look at the tail at the bottom instead of getting distracted by shiny things.

Ethelred
Ryan1981
1 / 5 (1) Jun 09, 2011
I always theorized the chicken came before the egg, I guessed the shell feature was added later, and eggs didn't exists, just deviding cells that happened to have the shape of a chicken :p.
omatumr
1.8 / 5 (10) Jun 09, 2011
This is apparently the material that remained in the equatorial ring after the SN explosion, not the material ejected axially.

The SN1987A explosion occurred remarkably like the supernova explosion that was proposed in 1976 to explain the formation of the solar system:

www.omatumr.com/Origin.htm

If like the birth of the solar system, elements like Fe, Ni and S will be closer to the SN core and light elements like H, He, C and N will be in the outer region of the ring.

With kind regards
Oliver K. Manuel
yyz
4 / 5 (4) Jun 09, 2011
"Why is there a chick head in the middle of that ring?"

Actually, that "chicken head" represents the rarely seen inner ejecta of a SN. Recent IFS observations of the inner ejecta region of 1987A has allowed astronomers to create 3-D velocity maps that help elucidate the nature and geometry of this feature: http://www.eso.or...1032.pdf

It turns out that this feature is not bipolar in nature (as previously proposed) but seems to show orientation close to that of the equatorial plane of the progenitor. Kinematic analysis of the ejecta seems to show two extensions of different radial velocities projected in the plane of the sky.

That the inner ejecta is not co-planar with the outer rings of the SN supports the view that SN1987A was an asymmetric event (and thus may have imparted a 'kick' to the [presumed] neutron star). These new observations also contradict an earlier proposed jet-induced explosion mechanism.


yyz
4.3 / 5 (6) Jun 09, 2011
"This is apparently the material that remained in the equatorial ring after the SN explosion, not the material ejected axially."

IFS observations show that this inner eject is NOT co-planar with the EQ ring. Do you know of similar observations of SN1987A that show otherwise? See the 2010 paper I linked to above.

"The SN1987A explosion occurred remarkably like the supernova explosion that was proposed in 1976 to explain the formation of the solar system...."

So do you know of a NR-derived SED for SN1987A, to, say, compare with the observed SED?

"If like the birth of the solar system, elements like Fe, Ni and S will be closer to the SN core and light elements like H, He, C and N will be in the outer region of the ring."

Observations of 1987A reveal strong mixing of elements in the SN debris field. See my previous link.



DontBeBlind
1.4 / 5 (10) Jun 09, 2011
Why is there a chick head in the middle of that ring?

It must be a sign from Yowae.


I think it's a sign from our evolutionary past telling us that human brains tend to see faces in random shapes.


You found proof of our evolutionary past? WHERE? lol noob
Ethelred
4.1 / 5 (9) Jun 09, 2011
You found proof of our evolutionary past? WHERE? lol noob
Oh pretty much everywhere there is life or was life.

noob? Paulie has been here since 2009, you oozed out of your primate past to spread ignorance on this site January 30, 2011, 11:10 am which shows that you not only don't have a clue about science you are without a clue as to what noob means.

Where is the evidence for the Great Flood and when did it occur oh clueless newbie?

Ethelred
yyz
4 / 5 (4) Jun 09, 2011
@ArkavianX,

"There was an amazing video of two smoke rings colliding together, showed the same pearly effect, probably same or similar mechanics."

Actually, three bright rings formed from material from the stellar wind of the progenitor of SN1987A are visible: http://en.wikiped...987a.jpg

These rings were promptly photoioninzed by the UV flash of the SN and did not appear for several months following the event.

Using precision observations of the size of the inner ring allowed researchers to determine an accurate distance to SN1987A of ~51kpc (168kly):

http://articles.a...ype=.pdf

also see:

http://en.wikiped...of_light

yyz
5 / 5 (2) Jun 10, 2011
"I'm a bit confused as to why this "new" observation of the brightening of the circumstellar ring surrounding SN 1987A is newsworthy."

I now see from their paper published in Nature that evidence indicates SN1987A has made the transition from a radioactively dominated phase (primarily in the form of positrons from the decay of 44Ti) to a phase dominated by the X-ray emission from the collisionally excited nuclear ring.

Images from HST collected over the past 15 years were analyzed photometrically and compared to X-ray data and models of the X-ray flux of SN1987A. These data indicate the SN has entered a new, never-before-seen transition in the life of an extremely young SNR.

A version of the Nature paper can be found here: http://hubblesite.../pdf.pdf
CSharpner
4 / 5 (4) Jun 10, 2011
You found proof of our evolutionary past? WHERE? lol noob


What was that Iraqi's nickname?... Baghdad Bob? You know, Saddam Hussein's spokesman that went on live TV denying the Americans were in Baghdad, while U.S. tanks were rolling down the street behind him?

You're just like him. There are millions of people in the world either not tied to religion from birth, or open minded enough to see the evidence, even though they WERE or HAVE BEEN tied to a religion from birth, but are able to accept the obvious facts right in front of them. They study, they read up in, they find more information, then you, having actively avoided it, knowing only what your willfully ignorant leaders tell you about evolution, step into the middle of a knowlefgable, educated crowd and tell them what they've seen their whole lives doesn't exist, and to top it off, you, who are completely ignorant of the facts, call THEM newbs???

I henceforth declare your new nickname to be Evolutionary Ed.
CSharpner
4 / 5 (4) Jun 10, 2011
So, Evolutionary Ed, if you're so sure the universe is only 6000 years old, I'm sure you're educated enough to explain to all us "noobs" how it is that we see objects more than 6000 light years away! Like, say, for instance... SUPERNOVA 1987a which is 168,000 light years away! We're seeing an event that occurred 162,000 years BEFORE your supposed creation event. There it is, in full colore, in motion, as it happened 168,000 years ago. Your side always argues about evolution, "no one was there to see it, so they don't know". Well here is an event from 168,000 years ago and we're actually seeing it. Proof positive that the universe existed significantly more than 6000 years ago.

Go ahead. Explain it. All us "noobs" are waiting with baited breath. If you ignore the question, like kv has forever, you'll have zero credibility. This is YOUR moment. You're on stage, in public, the microphone is open, the crowd is silent, all looking directly at you. SPEAK!
CSharpner
5 / 5 (3) Jun 10, 2011
Evolutionary Ed,

You found proof of our evolutionary past? WHERE? lol noob


Here...

http://www.proof-...ion.com/

This is a web site BY A CHRISTIAN who fully believes in evolution. I picked this site specifically for you.

BTW, jumping into this site with insults is NOT following Christ's teachings. So, you've lost on credibility on two major accounts:

1. Spouting your ignorance of reality.
2. Acting against the teachings of the religion you profess to be true.

Still waiting on your answer to why we can see Supernova 1987a. The floor is yours. GO!
CSharpner
5 / 5 (3) Jun 10, 2011
A2G (http://www.physor...er/A2G), who voted me a 1 on my post about Supernova 1987a being 168,000 light years away and hence, 168,000 years in the past:

Explain your 1 rating. And, you'll need to explain how what I said was wrong.

For your reference, here's a link explaining the distance:
http://www.don-li...nce.html

God demands that you be honest, as well as the rest of us. Voting a 1 on a sound, logical argument, without providing an explanation is dishonest and hence, is against God.
CSharpner
5 / 5 (2) Jun 10, 2011
Sorry, the close parenthesis and the comma got included in the hyperlink to A2G's profile page. Here it is with no punctuation:

http://www.physor...user/A2G
Ethelred
4.3 / 5 (6) Jun 10, 2011
Ass 2 god is making a hit and run visit to the site. All cowardice and no guts. Odd though that in this case it isn't to support a fantasy version of the Bible. He is downranking people that disagree with the Cranking Pederast.

I sure Jesus/Jehovah will bless him for all eternity for supporting Oliver. Perhaps they will both get to stay in the same pit in the mythical version of Gehenna.

The latest Culture novel by Ian M. Banks has actual hells. Some cultures in the series have afterlifes via uploading into simulated worlds. Some of them are intentional hells for punishment after death. The people that create these monstrous afterlifes remind me of idiots like Asst2god and particularly QC.

Ethelred
CSharpner
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 11, 2011
Ass 2 god is making a hit and run visit to the site. All cowardice and no guts.

Yep. I sent him a PM to let him know he's not being very Christian like and posted a a link back to here to let him know we're all waiting on a response. So, he has no excuse for not responding now, short of illness, death, or that he just happens to never return to the site to see that he has a PM.
Vendicar_Decarian
3 / 5 (6) Jun 11, 2011
"The SN1987A explosion occurred remarkably like the supernova explosion that was proposed in 1976 to explain the formation of the solar system:" - OmaTard

What is the name of the QuackTard proposed that nonsense?

Vendicar_Decarian
3 / 5 (6) Jun 11, 2011
"... how it is that we see objects more than 6000 light years away!" - c#

Gawad created the light in transit to challenge the faithful.
CSharpner
5 / 5 (3) Jun 11, 2011
"... how it is that we see objects more than 6000 light years away!" - c#

Gawad created the light in transit to challenge the faithful.

hehe. Yah, I love that one. We call it "last wednesdayism", meaning, well, he could have created the universe last Wednesday and inserted all our memories, so we'd never know the diff. I'm just waiting for one of them to propose that before I unleash on it.
EWH
1.8 / 5 (5) Jun 13, 2011
It always bugs me when they refer to something like that - glowing like a neon sign, obviously ionized as hell - as "gas". It's plasma.

The form of the nebula was not predicted - the idea that thousands of years ago the star threw off a cloud of gas that the explosion later plowed into is an after-the-fact, ad-hoc theory. The double-cone form (the two fainter rings cropped out of the article's picture) with the intense filamentary discharges in the central ring (shown) matches observation of lab plasmas undergoing a z-pinch far better than it does the "conventional" after-the-fact face-saving explanations .
EWH
1.8 / 5 (5) Jun 13, 2011
If the fainter rings show the same brightening effect mentioned in this article, it will refute the provided explanation of debris shock waves, but will confirm a plasma-theory based prediction made by Wallace Thornhill on November 15, 2007 that these will flicker.
Ethelred
3.8 / 5 (6) Jun 13, 2011
Wallace Thornhill is full of Crankery. These wankers promoting the Electric Universe actually claim the Sun is powered by some magical plasma currents from SPACE as opposed to the within the Sun. another ludicrous claim is that a neutron star can be blasted apart by similar magical currents thus making super novas.

Funny how when one brave plasma fan actually tried out the actual theory on the Sun he got a power level that was around a tenth of what the Sun really puts out. And that was with fully maximized handwaving to get the most power even a Crank could come up with.

Interestingly enough when I pointed this out here to one of the Cranks those numbers disappeared from the three main Electric Crank sites. The theory is still there and just as deficient as ever.

The effects of currents in plasma MAY be under estimated by real scientists but the level of handwaving by the Electric Cranks should be enough for them to all fly South for the Winter.

Ethelred
EWH
2.3 / 5 (6) Jun 13, 2011
I don't subscribe to the idea that the sun is externally powered. Nevertheless, the ratio of the gravitational to electric forces is about the same as the ratio of the width of a hydrogen atom to 13.7 billion light years, and its influence falls off at the same inverse square rate as gravity. Clearly there are electrical currents in space given the observed ubiquity of plasma, its variations in conductivity and the existance of vast magnetic fields in space. Thornhill has some cranky ideas, (and some accurate predictions), but he is not the originator of plasma cosmology. The primary originator of plasma cosmology was the Nobel prize-winning plasma physicist Hannes Alfvén - not a crank.
Ethelred
3 / 5 (4) Jun 13, 2011
its influence falls off at the same inverse square rate as gravity.
Only if you ignore the fact that it has positive and negative charges and BOTH are always involved thus it averages to ZERO in fairly short order. There are no long range effects in the cosmic sense. The effects are all limited to the current and a fairly short distances from the current.

And yes I have seen that bogus claim of long distance before. Nothing you said is new to me. It is likely that we had this conversation before since you Plasma cranks keep changing your logins. Even to the point of claiming to be new in the case of Yep who has made the claim of being new many times.>>
Ethelred
3.4 / 5 (5) Jun 13, 2011
Hannes Alfvén - not a crank.
Just wrong. And that is before you plasma cranks start lying to yourselves. The sites USED to claim that his ideas were TESTED which was a lie and after I copied and pasted the lie and the reality from his papers, that were posted on the Crank sties, the claim AND the papers were taken down but the Cranking based on the lie kept going.

You guys are Cranks. Your thinking is based on nonsense made up about Alfven. You got caught. You took down the evidence but kept the rest of the nonsenses.

The only real question is are you Yep or one the people that have been gulled by Yep who once claimed to own at least one of the sites. They are clearly related and may even all be from the same person. Cranks love to pose as multiple people to make it look as if they have support.

Ethelred
EWH
1.8 / 5 (5) Jun 16, 2011
Paranoid allegations, inappropriate insults and bizarre capitalization are not the best way to get people to take you seriously, Ethelred.
Ethelred
3.7 / 5 (6) Jun 16, 2011
Lies are not the way to make people take you seriously. Every thing I said was true, nothing is remotely paranoid. Except your post of course.

Go ahead, give evidence that Alfven ideas were tested in inter galactic space.

Ethelred