NASA’s Swift Satellite Discovered one of the Youngest-known Supernova Remnants

NASA's Swift satellite discovered one of the youngest-known supernova remnants which is believed to be less than 2500 years old - in our Milky Way galaxy.

Created On: Mar 18, 2013 13:09 ISTModified On: Mar 18, 2013 13:15 IST

NASA's Swift satellite in the Month of March 2013 discovered one of the youngest-known supernova remnants which is believed to be less than 2500 years old - in our Milky Way galaxy.

The Supernova Remnants were discovered while performing an extensive X-ray survey of our galaxy's central region. Looking after the coordinates of its sky position it has been designated G306.3-0.9.

As per the analysis by the scientist it was indicated that G306.3-0.9 is likely less than 2500 years old, making it one of the 20 youngest remnants identified.

It has been estimated that Astronomers have previously catalogued more than 300 supernova remnants in the galaxy.

To further investigate the object, the team followed up with an 83-minute exposure using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and additional radio observations from the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA), located near the town of Narrabri in New South Wales.

Using an estimated distance of 26,000 light-years for G306.3-0.9, the scientists determined that the explosion’s shock wave is racing through space at about 2.4 million km/h.

The Chandra observations reveal the presence of iron, neon, silicon and sulfur at temperatures exceeding 28 million C, a reminder not only of the energies involved but of the role supernovae play in seeding the galaxy with heavy elements produced in the hearts of massive stars.

About Supernova Explosion

A supernova explosion occurs once or twice a century in the Milky Way. The expanding blast wave and hot stellar debris slowly dissipate over hundreds of thousands of years, eventually mixing with and becoming indistinguishable from interstellar gas.

Earlier in 2011, Swift imaged a survey field near the southern border of the constellation Centaurus. Although nothing unusual appeared in the ultraviolet exposure, the X-ray image revealed an extended, semi-circular source reminiscent of a supernova remnant.

A search of archival data revealed counterparts in Spitzer infrared imagery and in radio data from the Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope in Australia.

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