Watch As a Supernova Morphs and Its Speedy Shock Waves Reverse

Space.com | 7/23/1999 | Elizabeth Howell
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A new video from NASA shows how a supernova explosion morphs and changes during a 13-year period, The growing debris field, known as Cassiopeia A or Cas A, likely was generated after a star explosion in 1680. New data from NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory shows that even an old explosion can change in subtle ways during a human lifetime.

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If you watch the arrows in the video closely, you can see shock waves in blue reverberating through space in data collected between 2000 and 2013. The shock waves are producing X-ray emissions and accelerating particles to high speeds.

The video combines X-ray data from Chandra with observations from the Hubble Space Telescope, which observes in visual and infrared light. Hubble's data was held constant to emphasize the changes Chandra observed over time, according to Chandra personnel.

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"As the blast wave travels outwards at speeds of about 11 million miles [18 million km] per hour, it encounters surrounding material and slows down, generating a second shock wave," Chandra mission personnel said in a statement. This "reverse shock," the agency continued, "travels backwards, similar...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Space.com
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