Chandra Peers at Cosmic Super Bubbles

Aug 31, 2007
Chandra Peers at Cosmic Super Bubbles
Image credit: NASA/CXC/UIUC/R.Williams et al.; Optical: NOAO/CTIO/MCELS coll.; Radio: ATCA/UIUC/R.Williams et al.

Using the Chandra X-ray Observatory, astronomers explored a particular region of clouds and gas where stars are forming in one of the Milky Way's closest galactic neighbors.

Combining X-ray data (blue and purple) with other wavelengths, researchers found evidence for the formation of a so-called superbubble. Superbubbles are formed when smaller structures from individual stars and supernovas combine into one giant cavity. The Chandra data shows evidence for three supernova explosions in this relatively small region.

At a distance of only 200,000 light years, the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) is one of the Milky Way's closest galactic neighbors. With its millions of stars, the SMC offers astronomers a chance to study phenomena across the stellar life cycle. In various regions of the SMC, massive stars and supernovas are creating expanding envelopes of dust and gas. Evidence for these structures is found in optical (red) and radio (green) data in this composite image.

Astronomers used Chandra to peer into one particular region of clouds of gas and plasma where stars are forming. This area, known as LHa115-N19 or N19 for short, is filled with ionized hydrogen gas and it is where many massive stars are expelling dust and gas through stellar winds.

Source: NASA

Explore further: Gravitational waves according to Planck

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Eta Carinae: Our Neighboring Superstars

Aug 26, 2014

( —The Eta Carinae star system does not lack for superlatives. Not only does it contain one of the biggest and brightest stars in our galaxy, weighing at least 90 times the mass of the Sun, it ...

Supernova seen in two lights

Aug 22, 2014

( —The destructive results of a mighty supernova explosion reveal themselves in a delicate blend of infrared and X-ray light, as seen in this image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and Chandra ...

Image: Chandra's view of the Tycho Supernova remnant

Jul 25, 2014

More than four centuries after Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe first observed the supernova that bears his name, the supernova remnant it created is now a bright source of X-rays. The supersonic expansion of ...

Recommended for you

Gravitational waves according to Planck

3 hours ago

Scientists of the Planck collaboration, and in particular the Trieste team, have conducted a series of in-depth checks on the discovery recently publicized by the Antarctic Observatory, which announced last spring that it ...

Infant solar system shows signs of windy weather

3 hours ago

Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have observed what may be the first-ever signs of windy weather around a T Tauri star, an infant analog of our own Sun. This may help ...

Finding hints of gravitational waves in the stars

9 hours ago

Scientists have shown how gravitational waves—invisible ripples in the fabric of space and time that propagate through the universe—might be "seen" by looking at the stars. The new model proposes that ...

How gamma ray telescopes work

10 hours ago

Yesterday I talked about the detection of gamma ray bursts, intense blasts of gamma rays that occasionally appear in distant galaxies. Gamma ray bursts were only detected when gamma ray satellites were put ...

The frequency of high-energy gamma ray bursts

12 hours ago

In the 1960s a series of satellites were built as part of Project Vela.  Project Vela was intended to detect violations of the 1963 ban on above ground testing of nuclear weapons.  The Vela satellites were ...

User comments : 0