Skip to comments.Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Filaments of the Vela Supernova Remnant
Posted on 10/01/2013 3:19:37 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
Explanation: The explosion is over but the consequences continue. About eleven thousand years ago a star in the constellation of Vela could be seen to explode, creating a strange point of light briefly visible to humans living near the beginning of recorded history. The outer layers of the star crashed into the interstellar medium, driving a shock wave that is still visible today. A roughly spherical, expanding shock wave is visible in X-rays. The above image captures some of that filamentary and gigantic shock in visible light. As gas flies away from the detonated star, it decays and reacts with the interstellar medium, producing light in many different colors and energy bands. Remaining at the center of the Vela Supernova Remnant is a pulsar, a star as dense as nuclear matter that rotates completely around more than ten times in a single second.
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[Credit & Copyright: Angus Lau, Y Van, SS Tong (Jade Scope Observatory)]
Unfortunately, none of the photos taken have survived.
Vela is part of what used to be the constellation Argo. Of course since the Argonauts' voyage was less than 11,000 years ago, the constellation was probably called something else then.
The cause of the explosion is under investigation.