Star explosion leaves behind a rose

December 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: Image: In the Constellation Cassiopeia

Related Stories

Image: In the Constellation Cassiopeia

July 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 only person to ...

WISE sees an explosion of infrared light

December 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

March 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, or WISE, captured ...

Runaway star plows through space

January 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 Survey Explorer, ...

Space image: New supernova remnant lights up

September 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, the Large Magellanic ...

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

October 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 dwarf has grown ...

Recommended for you

New quasar discovered by astronomers

September 19, 2017

(Phys.org)—A team of astronomers led by Jacob M. Robertson of the Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee has detected a new quasi-stellar object (QSO). They found the new quasar, designated SDSS J022155.26-064916.6, ...

The cosmic water trail uncovered by Herschel

September 19, 2017

During almost four years of observing the cosmos, the Herschel Space Observatory traced out the presence of water. With its unprecedented sensitivity and spectral resolution at key wavelengths, Herschel revealed this crucial ...

What do we need to know to mine an asteroid?

September 19, 2017

The mining of resources contained in asteroids, for use as propellant, building materials or in life-support systems, has the potential to revolutionise exploration of our Solar System. To make this concept a reality, we ...

A day in the life of NASA's Voyagers

September 19, 2017

At more than 10 billion miles away from Earth, there is no day and night. Time and space are fathomless and our Sun is a distant point of starlight—a faint reminder of the home NASA's twin Voyagers, humanity's farthest ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.