|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
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 Ophiuchus.
It was studied by astronomer
and his contemporaries, without the benefit of a telescope, as they
searched for an
of the heavenly apparition.
Armed with a modern understanding 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.
X-ray data and
of Kepler's supernova remnant taken by the orbiting
Chandra X-ray Observatory has shown relative elemental abundances typical of a
Type Ia supernova, and further indicated that the progenitor was a
white dwarf star that exploded
when it accreted too much material from a companion
Red Giant star and went over
About 13,000 light years away, Kepler's supernova
represents the most recent stellar explosion seen to
our Milky Way galaxy.
NASA/CXC/NCSU/M. Burkey et al.