Imagine the Universe!
Imagine Home  |   Teachers' Corner | HERA Overview  | Using HERA for Spectroscopy  |  

Death of a Star
Investigation of a Supernova Remnant

X-ray image of supernova remnant E0102-72 from Chandra

X-ray image of supernova remnant E0102-72 from the Chandra X-ray Observatory.


A star has died in an enormous explosion! There are no direct witnesses, and it is clear that the star has been dead for many years. Your job is to sift through the leftover pieces to pinpoint a few of the shady elements who may have been present in the explosion. To perform this investigation, you will use data from a supernova remnant (SNR) taken by Suzaku, a Japanese X-ray observatory with NASA participation.

Astronomers have dealt with this kind of wily character before, so you will start by getting a brief introduction to what astronomers already know. Then you'll look at a spectrum from a supernova remnant called E0102-72 to try and characterize the material contained in the supernova explosion. You will fit the spectrum to a series of models in search of the best model. Finally you'll examine your model to connect the best mathimatical model back to the physical Universe.

If you haven't already familiarized yourself with spectroscopy and modeling, go back to the Spectroscopy Introduction page and go over the materials there before continuing on.

Imagine the Universe is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The Imagine Team
Acting Project Leader: Dr. Barbara Mattson
All material on this site has been created and updated between 1997-2012.

DVD Table of Contents
Educator's Index