Supernovae always have amazed astronomers. Just recently, NASA spotted and snapped the remains of an ancient supernova. The light from the massive star explosion took 11,000 years to reach our planet.
NASA snapped an ancient supernova, Cassiopeia A
According to astronomers, cosmologists of the 17th century might have spotted the light of this ancient supernova. Now, NASA has been able to capture it on stunning images.
Massive stars collapse, producing heavy elements in their cores. These materials blast in the vast interstellar space, igniting star formation again and again. This process, however, is long, as it takes millions of years to complete.
Cassiopeia A is an excellent example of such a still-expanding supernova debris cloud. NASA took a snapshot of this ancient supernova using the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-Ray Observatory.
“Still expanding, the outer blast wave is seen in blue hues. The bright speck near the center is a neutron star, the incredibly dense, collapsed remains of the massive stellar core,” NASA reported.
Cassiopeia A is the ‘youngest’ ancient supernova in the Milky Way
As reported by NASA, the ancient supernova took place about 11,000 years ago. The light from the cosmic event reached Earth around the 17th century. While some cosmologists from those times might have spotted it, there are not many documents to assess that.
“Strangely, it was not widely noticed by that epoch’s astronomers,” said NASA. But the US space agency admits that, possibly, John Flamsteed observed the light from the ancient supernova on August 16th, 1689.
However, John Flamsteed cataloged the light in the Cassiopeia as a new star that he called “3 Cassiopeiae.” He did not acknowledge it as a supernova.
Finally, as per NASA, Cassiopeia A represent the ‘youngest’ ancient supernova in the Milky Way. Besides, it’s the most powerful known radio source in the Universe.