- Can you guess what the object is?
- How big is it?
- What is it made of?
- Where would you find it?
Read the rest of this post to discover what this object actually is!
This photo was taken by NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory.
- The object is Tycho’s Supernova Remnant – the remains of a star which Tycho Brahe saw explode in November 1572.
- It’s about 20 light-years across (about 189,000 billion kilometers).
- It consists of extremely hot gas (many millions of degrees).
- It’s located in the constellation of Cassiopeia, and it’s about 13,000 light-years away from us.
The photo is actually a composite of three separate X-ray photos. The colours are artificial, and indicate the energy of the X-rays.
The colours are explained on Chandra’s website:
Low and medium energy X-rays in red and green show expanding debris from the supernova explosion. High energy X-rays in blue reveal the blast wave, a shell of extremely energetic electrons.
The blast wave is expanding at about 4,000 kilometers per second! That’s about 14 million km/hour!
The supernova remnant is about 189,000 billion kilometers across, which is inconceivably huge! In comparison, the Earth is an invisibly small dot:
This object is so colossal, it would take over 14 billion Earths to reach from one side to the other!
Credit for these images: NASA/CXC/Chinese Academy of Sciences/F. Lu et al (not copyrighted).
- Tycho’s Supernova Remnant: NASA’s Chandra Finds New Evidence on Origin of Supernovas
- NASA press release – 26 April 2011
- Expansion Velocity of Ejecta in Tycho’s Supernova Remnant Measured by Doppler Broadened X-ray Line Emission