Astronomers discovered a new type of supernova remnant. Credit: NASA

40,000-Year-Old Explosion Rocks Deep Space—10 Things You Need To Know

The supernova remnant is located above the disk of the Milky Way galaxy: at a distance of 4 thousand light-years from it, and 10 thousand light-years from the Sun.

The eROSITA X-ray telescope, installed onboard the Spektr-RG observatory, has found a new type Ia galactic supernova remnant. The explosion occurred 40 thousand years ago in the halo of the Milky Way due to the white dwarf exceeding the mass limit. 


Everything you need to know about the new type of supernova remnant

Important for science

For astrophysicists, the remnants of supernova explosions are among the most interesting objects to study both in terms of the synthesis of chemical elements and the structure of the star before the explosion, the very mechanism of the explosion, and the interaction of shock waves with interstellar matter.

300 supernova remnants in the Milky Way

Currently, scientists know about three hundred supernova remnants in our galaxy, among them most of the remnants of explosions of massive stars, which are highly concentrated in the direction of the plane of the Milky Way disk.

Type Ia supernovae

Type Ia supernovae are less common and can be detected at high galactic latitudes. Most of the remnants are found in the radio range, but X-ray sky surveys remain an important source of interesting new candidates.

A new type of supernova remnant

A group of Russian astronomers led by Eugene Churazov from the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences announced the discovery of a new type Ia galactic supernova remnant G116.6-26.1, made during the fourth sky survey by the eROSITA X-ray telescope, which is installed onboard the space observatory ” Spectr-RG “.

Location

The supernova remnant is located above the disk of the Milky Way galaxy: at a distance of 4 thousand light-years from it, and 10 thousand light-years from the Sun.

X-ray image of the vicinity of the supernova remnant G116.6-26.1. Credit: EM Churazov et al. / Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2021
X-ray image of the vicinity of the supernova remnant G116.6-26.1. Credit: EM Churazov et al. / Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2021

Characteristics

G116.6-26.1 appears to be an almost circular object with moderate brightness around the edges, and its physical diameter is about 600-700 light-years. The spectrum is dominated by the emission lines of hydrogen-like (O VIII) and helium-like (O VII) and oxygen ions.

When did it explode?

The outbreak, according to scientists, occurred 40 thousand years ago and was a thermonuclear explosion of a white dwarf that exceeded the mass limit, which generated a shock wave moving in hot (10 6 kelvin) interstellar gas with a low density (∼10 -3 particles per cubic centimeter).

Conclusions

The scientists concluded that the parameters of the interstellar medium before and after the impact of the shock wave did not change much, which is unusual.

Explanations

This can be explained by the fact that the gas density, even after being compressed by the shock wave, was very low, due to which the time for establishing equilibrium in the amounts of different ions is longer than the age of the supernova.

Future research

This is also related to the brightness of the remnant in observations in the lines of oxygen ions. If the discovery is confirmed, then G116.6-26.1 and other similar residues will allow them to be used to determine the temperature, density, and metallicity of the Milky Way’s halo environment.


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Sources:

Churazov, E. M., Khabibullin, I. I., Bykov, A. M., Chugai, N. N., Sunyaev, R. A., & Zinchenko, I. I. (2021, August 24). SRG/eROSITA discovery of a large CIRCULAR SNR candidate g116.6−26.1: SN ia Explosion probing the gas of the Milky WAY HALO? OUP Academic.

Written by Vladislav Tchakarov

Hello, my name is Vladislav and I am glad to have you here on Curiosmos. My experience as a freelance writer began in 2018 but I have been part of the Curiosmos family since mid-2020. As a history student, I have a strong passion for history and science, and the opportunity to research and write in this field on a daily basis is a dream come true.

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