3-D model lets you "fly through" a 300-year-old supernova

Illustration for article titled 3-D model lets you fly through a 300-year-old supernova

Check out the amazing new image that NASA just released of Cassiopeia A, the remains of a supernova that would have been visible from Earth 300 years ago. This new composite image was released to promote a new 3-D visualization tool that will allow more people to study Cas A.


Check out this animated GIF which NASA released, comparing the 2006 and 2013 images of Cassiopeia A:


And here's a 3-D "fly-through" of the supernova remnant:

The new 3-D model is a project of NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory, which explains:

Scientists have combined data from Chandra, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, and ground-based facilities to construct a unique 3D model of the 300-year old remains of a stellar explosion that blew a massive star apart, sending the stellar debris rushing into space at millions of miles per hour. The collaboration with this new Smithsonian 3D project will allow the astronomical data collected on Cassiopeia A, or Cas A for short, to be featured and highlighted in an open-access program — a major innovation in digital technologies with public, education, and research-based impacts.

To coincide with Cas A being featured in this new 3D effort, a specially-processed version of Chandra's data of this supernova remnant is also being released. This new image shows with better clarity the appearance of Cas A in different energy bands, which will aid astronomers in their efforts to reconstruct details of the supernova process such as the size of the star, its chemical makeup, and the explosion mechanism. The color scheme used in this image is the following: low-energy X-rays are red, medium-energy ones are green, and the highest-energy X-rays detected by Chandra are colored blue.

See more details, including a guided tour of the 3-D visualization tool, over at the Chandra site.

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God does not sneeze at the universe! (But if she did, it'd probably not look entirely unlike this)