From NASA Chandra: “RCW 86: All Eyes on Oldest Recorded Supernova”

Science Springs

NASA Chandra

“Four space telescopes – Chandra, XMM-Newton, Spitzer, and WISE – combined to make a new discovery on a very old supernova remnant. Chinese astronomers witnessed an event in that location in 185 AD, documenting a mysterious ‘guest star’ that remained for 8 months. The new data show that RCW 86 was created by a Type Ia supernova explosion. This type of supernova is caused when a white dwarf pulls material from a companion star until a thermonuclear reaction occurs.

comp
Composite

xray
X-ray

infra
Infrared

Credit X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO & ESA; Infared: NASA/JPL-Caltech/B. Williams (NCSU)
Release Date October 26, 2011
Observation Date 01 Feb 2001
Observation Time 27 hours 47 min

This image combines data from four different space telescopes to create a multi-wavelength view of all that remains of the oldest documented example of a supernova, called RCW 86. The Chinese witnessed the event in 185 A.D., documenting…

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