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Fresh View Of Nearest Detected Supernova Shows Object Keeps Brightening

Date:
February 26, 2007
Source:
European Space Agency
Summary:
Twenty years after the first detection of SN 1987A, the nearest supernova ever detected since the invention of the telescope, XMM-Newton provides a fresh-new view of this object. The source keeps brightening, the X-ray space observatory confirms.
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Composite colour image of the region of the sky around the supernova SN 1987A obtained from the three EPIC cameras on board ESA's XMM-Newton on 17 January 2007. X-rays from different energy bands are coded in red (0.2-1.0 keV), green (1.0-2.0 keV) and blue (2.0-4.5 keV. The supernova SN 1987A appears as bright object near the centre of the image. (Credit: ESA/EPIC/MPE)
Credit: ESA/EPIC/MPE

Twenty years after the first detection of SN 1987A, the nearest supernova ever detected since the invention of the telescope, XMM-Newton provided a fresh-new view of this object. The source keeps brightening, the X-ray space observatory confirms.

The supernova SN 1987A in the Large Magellanic Cloud is the nearest supernova detected since the invention of the telescope. Almost 20 years after its discovery on 23 February 1987, XMM-Newton observed the stellar remnant in X-rays on 17 January 2007. Continuously brightening since the first detection in X-rays by ROSAT in 1992, it now outshines all other X-ray sources in its immediate neighbourhood and it is more than ten times brighter as compared to the first-light observations of XMM-Newton in January 2000.  

SN 1987A provides the unique opportunity for detailed studies of the earliest stages of a supernova remnant.

Observations across the whole electromagnetic spectrum revealed a detailed picture of the circumstellar medium produced by the stellar wind from the massive pregenitor star during its 'supergiant' phases.

The X-rays we see mainly originate from the interaction of the supernova shock with this circumstellar medium. Their detailed analysis will gain further insights into the physics of the explosion and may reveal eventually the presence of a central compact object like a neutron star.


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The above post is reprinted from materials provided by European Space Agency. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


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European Space Agency. "Fresh View Of Nearest Detected Supernova Shows Object Keeps Brightening." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 February 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070223143408.htm>.
European Space Agency. (2007, February 26). Fresh View Of Nearest Detected Supernova Shows Object Keeps Brightening. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070223143408.htm
European Space Agency. "Fresh View Of Nearest Detected Supernova Shows Object Keeps Brightening." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070223143408.htm (accessed August 31, 2015).

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