Wednesday, June 16, 2021

This is Puppis A

Puppis A (abbreviated to Pup A and also known as SNR G260.4-03.4 and PKS 0822-42) is a supernova remnant located at a distance of around 7,000 light years in the constellation of Puppis. It was discovered in 1950 from its emission at radio wavelengths.

Puppis A is around 100 light years across and its apparent size is around  one degree. The remnant is the result of the core collapse of a massive star that ended its life when it formed an iron core, collapsing under its own gravity. The light from the supernova explosion reached Earth around 3,700 years ago.

Puppis A is one of the brightest X-ray sources in the sky and it is designated as Puppis X-1 and 2U 0821-42. In 1971 a bright X-ray source was observed, with the remnant being its optical counterpart.

A neutron star known as the Cosmic Cannonball has been found near Puppis A. The velocity that it moves is not still clear, but the currently accepted value is  672±115 km/s. Neutron stars that escape their remnant are really interesting sources, because they provide information about the explosion mechanism of massive stars (i.e., non uniform explosions).

Image: Composite infrared and X-ray image of Puppis A. The image was created using infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope (red and green 70 µm and 24 µm respectively) and X-ray data (blue) from the Chandra X-ray observatory and XMM-Newton (0.3-8 KeV). The bubble-like structure is due to the shockwave from the explosion. From the image it is evident that the infrared structure and dust trace each other closely. Emission from hot dust is responsible for the infrared emission, while hot gas emits in X-rays.

Image Credit: NASA/ESA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC/IAFE

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