VLT/VIMOS observations of the shock front in the remnant of the supernova SN 1006

Very detailed new observations with ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) of the remains of a thousand-year-old supernova have revealed clues to the origins of cosmic rays.

The image on the left shows the entire SN 1006 supernova remnant, as seen in radio (red), X-ray (blue) and visible light (yellow). The second panel, corresponding to the small square region marked at the left, is a NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope close up view of the remarkably narrow region of the shock front, where the material from the supernova is colliding with interstellar medium. The third panel shows how the integral field unit of the VIMOS instrument splits up the image into many small regions, the light from each of which is spread out into a spectrum of its component colours. When these spectra are analysed, maps of the properties of the underlying object can be derived. The example shown here at the right is a map of one property of the gas (the width a spectral line), which is surprisingly variable, and implies, along with other indicators, the presence of very high-speed protons.

Credit:

ESO, Radio: NRAO/AUI/NSF/GBT/VLA/Dyer, Maddalena & Cornwell, X-ray: Chandra X-ray Observatory; NASA/CXC/Rutgers/G. Cassam-Chenaï, J. Hughes et al., Visible light: 0.9-metre Curtis Schmidt optical telescope; NOAO/AURA/NSF/CTIO/Middlebury College/F. Winkler and Digitized Sky Survey.

About the Image

Id:eso1308a
Type:Collage
Release date:14 February 2013, 20:00
Related releases:eso1308
Size:7059 x 2179 px

About the Object

Name:SN 1006
Type:• Milky Way : Nebula : Type : Supernova Remnant
• X - Nebulae
Distance:7000 light years

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