Cassiopeia A is expanding debris cloud from a stellar explosion, a supernova. This picture was the result of a one million second exposure using the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. In the false-color image, Cas A’s outer green ring, around 10 light-years across, marks the location of the expanding shock from the original supernova explosion. A structure extends beyond the ring (at about 10 o’clock), evidence that the initial explosion may have also produced energetic jets. The tiny point source near the center of Cas A is a neutron star, the collapsed remains of the stellar core. Cas A is about 10,000 light-years away, but light from the supernova explosion first reached Earth just over 300 years ago.
We’ve recently been shown the official “first” images from the James Webb Space Telescope. This picture is the official first light image from the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Cas A (Cassiopeia A), a supernova remnant, was the target of this 5,000-second image.
This image of the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A combines some of the first X-ray data collected by the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (magenta) with high-energy X-ray data from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory blue). IPXE is a collaboration between NASA and the Italian Space Agency. Studying the polarization of X-rays reveals the physics of objects and can provide insights into the high-temperature environments where they were created.