Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Supernova Remnants Dance In The Large Magellanic Cloud

Date:
January 15, 2008
Source:
Gemini Observatory
Summary:
The Gemini South Multi-Object Spectograph recently captured a dramatic image of a vast cloud complex named DEM L316 located in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The peanut-shaped nebula appears to be a single object, but the latest research indicates that it is really comprised of two distinct gas and dust clouds formed by different types of supernova explosions.

Wide-field image of DEM L316 and its surroundings in the LMC as seen by the MCELS survey. The inset shows the extent of the new Gemini image.
Credit: S. Points/C. Smith/MCELS/NOAO/AURA/NSF

The Gemini South Multi-Object Spectograph (GMOS) recently captured a dramatic image of a vast cloud complex named DEM L316 located in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The peanut-shaped nebula appears to be a single object, but the latest research indicates that it is really comprised of two distinct gas and dust clouds formed by different types of supernova explosions.

Related Articles


The new image reveals the intricate tendrils of gas and dust located in the remnants of the stellar explosions that created the still-expanding cloud complex. The object was first recognized in the early 1970s as a supernova remnant, a type of object that is enriched with elements created in stellar explosions. The nebula was likely created a few tens of thousands of years ago by more than one type of supernova exploding in this region of the Large Magellanic Cloud.

"The remarkable clarity of these Gemini-South observations shows the complex shock structure of these two supernova remnants in impressive detail," said Dr. Rosa Williams of Columbus State University, an astronomer who has studied DEM L316 extensively. "It's a great step forward in efforts to understand this fascinating pair of remnants - whether they represent only a chance alignment on the sky or some as-yet uncovered physical relationship."

Other recent observations of DEM L316 by the Chandra and XMM-Newton X-ray space telescopes have strengthened the idea that the cloud is actually two supernova remnants that are aligned in the sky by chance and not a single remnant with a distorted bi-polar shape. The Chandra observations reveal that the chemical compositions of the two shells are very different. This is a strong hint that they were created in very different types of supernova outbursts.

The data show that the smaller shell (lower left in the GMOS image) contains significantly more iron than the larger one. The high abundance of iron in the small bubble indicates that the gas is the product of a Type Ia supernova. This type of explosion is triggered by the infall of matter from a star onto a white dwarf. Since white dwarf stars are extremely old objects, the system must have been a few billion years old when this supernova explosion took place.

By contrast, the larger, less iron-rich bubble is the result of a Type II supernova that was triggered by the collapse of a massive star (more than seven times the mass of our Sun) when it was only a few million years old. Since the two progenitor systems had vastly different ages when they "went supernova", there is little chance they came from the same system. Therefore, while the detailed structure seen in the GMOS image makes it look like the two bubbles are colliding, they only seem to be close together in the sky because of a chance alignment in our line of sight.

The Large Magellanic Cloud is a sister satellite galaxy to our Milky Way and lies about 160,000 light-years away in the direction of the constellation Dorado. The DEM L316 nebula is located within the LMC and its two bubbles extend over a distance of about 140 light-years (roughly 35 times larger than the distance between our Sun and its nearest stellar neighbor).

Journal reference: Rosa Williams of Columbus State University and You-Hua Chu of the University of Illinois published an extensive study of the double supernova remnant in the Astrophysical Journal (ApJ, 635, 1077, 2005). In that paper the authors also review previous work on this target.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Gemini Observatory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Gemini Observatory. "Supernova Remnants Dance In The Large Magellanic Cloud." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080110102327.htm>.
Gemini Observatory. (2008, January 15). Supernova Remnants Dance In The Large Magellanic Cloud. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080110102327.htm
Gemini Observatory. "Supernova Remnants Dance In The Large Magellanic Cloud." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080110102327.htm (accessed March 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Supermassive Blackhole Detector Ready for Business

Supermassive Blackhole Detector Ready for Business

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) Construction of the world&apos;s largest and most powerful observatory designed to detect and analyze gamma rays has been completed in Mexico. Gamma ray particles are considered the most energetic in the universe and scientists hope to use the observatory to learn more about the supernovas and black holes that produce them. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rocket Blasts Off Carrying U.S. Air Force GPS Satellite

Rocket Blasts Off Carrying U.S. Air Force GPS Satellite

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) A U.S. Air Force GPS IIF-9 satellite launches aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket into semi-synchronous orbit. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Opportunity's Marathon: The Mars Rover Just Keeps Going

Opportunity's Marathon: The Mars Rover Just Keeps Going

Newsy (Mar. 24, 2015) NASA&apos;s Opportunity Mars Rover finished a full marathon, making it the first human creation to do a full 26.2 miles on another planet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Twin Astronaut to Break NASA Record in Study

Twin Astronaut to Break NASA Record in Study

AP (Mar. 23, 2015) NASA astronaut Scott Kelly will be the first American to spend a year aboard the International Space Station in an experiment to test human endurance in space, while his twin brother&apos;s health is compared on Earth. (March 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins