Star explosion leaves behind a rose

Dec 12, 2011 By Whitney Clavin
About 3,700 years ago people on Earth would have seen a brand-new bright star in the sky. As it slowly dimmed out of sight, it was eventually forgotten, until modern astronomers found its remains -- called Puppis A. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA

(PhysOrg.com) -- About 3,700 years ago, people on Earth would have seen a brand-new bright star in the sky. It slowly dimmed out of sight and was eventually forgotten, until modern astronomers later found its remains, called Puppis A. In this new image from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), Puppis A looks less like the remains of a supernova explosion and more like a red rose.

Puppis A (pronounced PUP-pis) was formed when a massive star ended its life in a supernova, the most brilliant and powerful form of an explosion in the known universe. The expanding from that explosion are heating up the dust and surrounding the supernova, causing them to glow and appear red in this . While much of the material from that original star was violently thrown out into space, some of it  remained in an incredibly dense object called a neutron star. This particular neutron star (too faint to be seen in this image) is moving inexplicably fast: over 3 million miles per hour! Astronomers are perplexed over its absurd speed, and have nicknamed the object the "Cosmic Cannonball."

Some of the green-colored gas and dust in the image is from yet another ancient supernova -- the Vela supernova remnant. That explosion happened around 12,000 years ago and was four times closer to us than Puppis A.

The colors in this image represent different wavelengths of infrared light that humans can't see with their eyes.

Explore further: How baryon acoustic oscillation reveals the expansion of the universe

Related Stories

Image: In the Constellation Cassiopeia

Jul 14, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Tycho's Supernova, the red circle visible in the upper left part of the image, is SN 1572 is a remnant of a star explosion is named after the astronomer Tycho Brahe, although he was not the ...

WISE sees an explosion of infrared light

Dec 10, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- A circular rainbow appears like a halo around an exploded star in this new view of the IC 443 nebula from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE.

Speed demon creates a shock

Mar 11, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Just as some drivers obey the speed limit while others treat every road as if it were the Autobahn, some stars move through space faster than others. NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, ...

Runaway star plows through space

Jan 25, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- A massive star flung away from its former companion is plowing through space dust. The result is a brilliant bow shock, seen here as a yellow arc in a new image from NASA's Wide-field Infrared ...

Space image: New supernova remnant lights up

Sep 13, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Using the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers are witnessing the unprecedented transition of a supernova to a supernova remnant, where light from an exploding star in a neighboring galaxy, ...

G299.2-2.9, a middle-aged supernova remnant

Oct 13, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- G299.2-2.9 is an intriguing supernova remnant found about 16,000 light years away in the Milky Way galaxy. Evidence points to G299.2-2.9 being the remains of a Type Ia supernova, where a white ...

Recommended for you

The Great Cold Spot in the cosmic microwave background

19 hours ago

The cosmic microwave background (CMB) is the thermal afterglow of the primordial fireball we call the big bang. One of the striking features of the CMB is how remarkably uniform it is. Still, there are some ...

Mystery of rare five-hour space explosion explained

Sep 17, 2014

Next week in St. Petersburg, Russia, scientists on an international team that includes Penn State University astronomers will present a paper that provides a simple explanation for mysterious ultra-long gamma-ray ...

User comments : 0