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Ixpe immortalizes the remains of an ancient supernova

Ixpe immortalizes the remains of an ancient supernova

It’s a truly stunning image, just released by the Ixpe space telescope. The protagonist is SN1006an ancient supernova located in 6500 light years From us, in a constellation wolf.

there A joint mission between NASA and ASI Ixpe captured a polarized X-ray image of this supernova for the first time. Or rather what’s left of it: SN 1006 is actually the remains of a very powerful being Explosion From the star Observed from our planet in general 1006 (Hence the name). So far, it’s about astral phenomena Clear volume is brighter Of which there are historical records. For example, the Egyptian astrologer Ali bin Radwan He wrote that the event was 2.5 to 3 times larger than the disk of Venus, and reached about one-quarter the brightness of the Moon.

In modern times, SN1006 has been the subject of several observations. The most famous of these are those used by the space telescope Chandra From NASA, which immortalized it in X-rays, and the new image taken by Expy starts from Chandra’s images. Reflects the red, green, and blue elements in the image Low x-rays, middle And High energy Detected by Chandra. Ixpe’s “artist signature”, which measures instead Polarization of X-ray light, appears in purple in the upper left part of the image. The lines represent External movement Subordinate area Magnetic From the remains of SN 1006.

Measuring magnetic fields in space is very difficult, but Ixpe is able to do it thanks to the data it collects three Telescopes, which makes use of special detectors to study the polarization of light in the X-band developed and created by Infn and Inaf. In case SupernovaeThis is important data for better understanding the behavior of the flow of high-energy particles emerging from dying stars.

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Ixpe, short for X-ray polarization detector imaging As a result of cooperation between NASA and the Italian Space Agency, it was launched in December 2021 It has since provided valuable clues about some of the most exotic celestial bodies. New data on SN 1006 joins the group, allowing the turbulent magnetic fields of the supernova remnant to be observed for the first time.

The new data was processed by an international team led byNanjing University In Jiangsu, China. Among the authors of the article accepted for publication on Astrophysical Journal And Available on the portal arXivThere are also researchers from ASI.

«Once again, Ixpe has allowed us to study the complex structure of a supernova remnant, in this case SN 1006 – Comments Andrew Marinucci, an ASI researcher at the Space Research Unit and co-author of the article. – Ixpe’s unique ability to measure the polarization of X-rays coming from different regions of the source actually provided us with valuable information about the direction of the acting turbulent magnetic fields.

The remnant of the supernova SN 1006 immortalized by Chandra and Expy. Credits: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO (Chandra); NASA/MSFC/Nanjing University/P. Zhou et al. (XP); Infrared: NASA/Jpl/Caltech/Spitzer; Image processing: NASA/Cxc/Sao/J.Schmidt