Technology with attitude

NASA’s NuSTAR Creates Supernova Remnant Map Revealing How Stars Blow Up


NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, also called as NuSTAR, unravels the biggest mysteries in astronomy. The high-energy X-ray observatory has tried to answer how stars blow up in supernova explosions with the help of the first map of radioactive material in a supernova remnant.
The remnant is named Cassiopeia A (Cas A) and the results of it reveals how the shock waves ripped apart massive dying.

Co-author of the study Fiona Harrison, the principal investigator of NuSTAR at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in the Pasadena, said the stars are in fact spherical balls of gas and we may have been thinking when they explode and end their lives, it would look like a uniform ball that seems to be expanding out with great power, but the new study shows the heart or the engine of the star is distorted, probably due to the inner regions slosh down literally around before detonating.

The study was published in the Nature journal on February 20. It says the creation of Cas A took place when a massive star blew as a supernova explosion and left behind a dense stellar corpse and the ejected remains of it. The explosion light reached our Earth few hundred years ago and hence we see the stellar remnant of it when it was young and fresh.

NuSTAR has come up with the maps of radioactive elements in supernova remnants first time and says the element in it is titanium-44 that was produced at the engine of the star.