Adding a New "Color" to Palate of Cassiopeia A Images

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nustar_nustar140219b February 19th, 2014

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/CXC/SAO

Elements making up the shredded remains of a massive star that exploded in a supernova are highlighted in this three-panel view. Red and green show iron, and both silicon and magnesium, respectively, as seen by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. Blue shows radioactive titanium-44, mapped by NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, for the first time.

The radioactive titanium map amounts to new evidence in the case of why Cassiopeia A, and other massive stars, explode. The radioactive material glows in X-rays all the time, while the iron and other elements only glow in X-rays after they are heated by shock waves sent out from the explosion. For this reason, the radioactive titanium provides a more direct look at the heart of the explosion, and tells researchers what happened right when the star blasted apart.

The supernova explosion was not driven by jets, a realization to come out of the NuSTAR data. The green Chandra map shows that jets left imprints in material at the outer portions of the supernova remnant; if the blast had been directly spurred by these jets, then researchers would have expected the radioactive material seen by NuSTAR to have the same jet pattern. As the blue map does not match the green one, the jet-driven models of supernovas are ruled out.

Image Source: https://nustar.caltech.edu/image/nustar140219b

Curator: NuSTAR: Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, Pasadena, CA

Image Use Policy: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/imagepolicy/

View Options

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
Cassiopeia A Cas A
Subject - Milky Way
Nebula > Type > Supernova Remnant

Distance

Universescale1
11,000 light years
Nustar_nustar140219b_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 0h 0m 0.0s
DEC = 0° 0’ 0.0”
Orientation
North is up
Field of View
0.0 x 0.0 arcminutes
Constellation
Pisces

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Arrow_left_blue NuSTAR X-ray (44Ti) 17.0 pm
Arrow_left_green Chandra X-ray (Si-Mg) 885.6 pm
Arrow_left_red Chandra X-ray (Fe) 187.9 pm
Green channel is a ratio of silicon and magnesium lines
Spectrum_xray1w
Arrow_top_blue
Arrow_top_green
Arrow_top_red
Nustar_nustar140219b_1280
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ID
nustar140219b
Subject Category
B.4.1.4  
Subject Name
Cassiopeia A, Cas A
Credits
NASA/JPL-Caltech/CXC/SAO
Release Date
2014-02-19
Lightyears
11,000
Redshift
11,000
Reference Url
https://nustar.caltech.edu/image/nustar140219b
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
Facility
NuSTAR, Chandra, Chandra
Instrument
Color Assignment
Blue, Green, Red
Band
X-ray, X-ray, X-ray
Bandpass
44Ti, Si-Mg, Fe
Central Wavelength
0.016984, 0.8856, 0.18785
Start Time
2004-04-28T05:44
Integration Time
3.0000000000000E+00
Dataset ID
Notes
G
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
Reference Value
-, -
Reference Dimension
-, -
Reference Pixel
-, -
Scale
-, -
Rotation
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
NuSTAR: Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array
URL
http://www.nustar.caltech.edu
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
City
Pasadena
State/Province
CA
Postal Code
Country
Rights
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/imagepolicy/
Publisher
Publisher ID
nustar
Resource ID
Metadata Date
2018-06-21T00:29:43Z
Metadata Version
1.2
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

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Universescalefull
11,000 light years