3D rendering of a self-destructing star reveals new details of the process

(ORDO NEWS) — The 1,000-year-old supernova was captured in 3D, and the resulting images show previously unknown details of the distribution of elements emitted by the star’s explosion. Analysis of the data collected with the Multi-Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) and X-shooter of the ESO’s Very Large Telescope provides a deeper understanding of the dynamics of the star’s self-destruction processes.

These supernova remnants, known as SNR 0540-69.3, are well known to astronomers. They are convenient for observation, because they are located relatively close to us, in the Large Magellanic Cloud – a small satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, located at a distance of about 160,000 light-years from Earth.

Nonetheless, supernova remnants SNR 0540-69.3 have a lot to tell astronomers. These new observations have revealed the distribution of material in unprecedented detail, leading to two new discoveries: the discovery of a large ring of oxygen around the inner regions of supernova remnants and a mysterious blob of hydrogen, which scientists have not seen before in other supernova remnants.

This study presents a three-dimensional map of the distribution of elements ejected by the explosion in the form of rings and clumps, which carry a significant amount of information about the predecessor star and the mechanism of the explosion. Rendering these details in 3D allows researchers to test theoretical models and gain new evidence that such structures are characteristic of the erupted material also in the case of other supernovae.

The study is published in the Astrophysical Journal; lead author Josefin Larsson of the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden.


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