Chandra Image of a Super Nova remnant in M31
Credit: A. K. H. Kong et al., 2002, The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 580, Issue 2, pp. L125-L128

A Supernova Beyond the Milky Way

Beautiful X-ray images of supernova remnants (the shocked hot gas produced by exploded stars) have been obtained inside the Milky Way. But what does a supernova remnant look like in an external galaxy? The Chandra X-ray observatory, with its extraordinary ability to resolve distant objects, has provided the first image of of a supernova in an external galaxy. The image above is a "true-color" Chandra/ACIS X-ray picture of a supernova remnant named CXOM31 J004327.7+411829 in the Andromeda Galaxy, M31. In this image color stands for X-ray energy: red represents low energy X-rays from "cool" material (only a few million degrees), green represents medium energy X-rays from "warm" material, while blue represents the highest energy X-rays from the hottest material (near 20 million degrees). This supernova remnant is about 136 light years in diameter, and is between 3210-22,300 years old.

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Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified December 9, 2002