Astronomy Picture of the Day

SNR 0103-72.6: Oxygen Supply

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SNR 0103-72.6: Oxygen Supply


A supernova explosion,
a massive star's inevitable and
spectacular demise,
blasts back into space debris enriched in the
heavy elements
in its
stellar core.

Incorporated into future stars and planets, these are the
elements ultimately necessary for life.

Seen here in
a false-color x-ray image, supernova remnant
SNR 0103-72.6 is revealed to be just such an expanding debris
cloud in neighboring galaxy, the
Small Magellanic Cloud.

Judging from the measured size of the expanding outer ring of
shock-heated gas, about 150 light-years, light from
the original supernova explosion would have first reached
Earth about 10,000 years ago.

Hundreds of supernova remnants
have been identified as
much sought after astronomical laboratories for studying the cycle of
element synthesis
and enrichment, but the
x-ray data also show
that the hot gas at the center of this
particular supernova remnant is exceptionally rich
in neon and oxygen.

the Perseid Meteor Shower

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