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Kepler's Supernova Remnant in X-Rays

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Kepler's Supernova Remnant in X-Rays

What caused this mess?

Some type of star exploded to create the unusually shaped nebula known as
Kepler's supernova remnant,
but which type?

Light from the stellar explosion that
created this energized cosmic cloud was first seen on planet
Earth in October 1604, a mere
four hundred years

The supernova produced a bright

new star
in early 17th century skies within the constellation

It was studied by astronomer
Johannes Kepler
and his contemporaries, with out the benefit of a telescope, as they
searched for an explanation of the heavenly apparition.

Armed with a
of stellar evolution, early 21st century
astronomers continue to explore the expanding debris cloud, but can now use
orbiting space telescopes to survey Kepler's supernova remnant (SNR)
across the spectrum.

Recent X-ray data and
of Kepler's supernova remnant taken by the orbiting
Chandra X-ray Observatory has shown relative elemental abundances more typical of a
Type Ia supernova, indicating that the progenitor was a
white dwarf star that exploded
when it accreted too much material and went over
Chandrasekhar's limit.

About 13,000 light years away, Kepler's supernova
represents the most recent stellar explosion seen to
occur within
our Milky Way galaxy.

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