Cassiopeia A

Cassiopeia A

name = Cassiopeia A

type = IIb cite web
title=Scientists Hold Séance for Supernova
epoch = J2000
SNRtype = Shell
host = Milky Way
constellation = Cassiopeia
ra = 23h 23m 26s| dec = +58° 48′
gal = G111.7-2.1
discovery = 1947
iauc =
distance = 11 kly (3.4 kpc)citation
last1 = Fesen
first1 = Robert A.
last2 = Hammell
first2 = Molly C.
last3 = Morse
first3 = Jon
last4 = Chevalier
first4 = Roger A.
last5 = Borkowski
first5 = Kazimierz J.
last6 = Dopita
first6 = Michael A.
last7 = Gerardy
first7 = Christopher L.
last8 = Lawrence
first8 = Stephen S.
last9 = Raymond
first9 = John C.
last10 = van den Bergh
first10 = Sidney
title = The Expansion Asymmetry and Age of the Cassiopeia A Supernova Remnant
year = 2006
date = July 2006
journal = The Astrophysical Journal
volume = 645
issue = 1
url =
pages = 283–292
doi = 10.1086/504254
mag_v = 6?
progenitor = Unknown
progenitor_type = Unknown
b-v = Unknown
notes = Brightest radio source
beyond our solar system

Cassiopeia A (Cas A) is a supernova remnant in the constellation Cassiopeia and the brightest extrasolar radio source in the sky, with a flux of 2720 Jy at 1 GHz. The supernova occurred approximately 11,000 light years away in the Milky Way.Harvard reference | Surname=Stover| Given=Dawn | Title=Life In A Bubble | Journal=Popular Science | Volume=269 | Issue=6 | Year=2006 | Page=16] The expanding cloud of material left over from the supernova is now approximately 10 light years across. Despite its radio brilliance, however, it is extremely faint optically, and is only visible on long-exposure photographs.

It is believed that first light from the stellar explosion reached Earth approximately 300 years ago but there are no historical records of any sightings of the progenitor supernova, probably due to interstellar dust absorbing optical wavelength radiation before it reached Earth (although it is possible that it was recorded as a sixth magnitude star by John Flamsteed on August 16, 1680 [cite journal | author=Hughes DW | title=Did Flamsteed see the Cassiopeia A supernova? | journal=Nature | volume=285 | issue=5761 | year=1980 | pages=132–133 | doi=10.1038/285132a0 ] ). Possible explanations lean toward the idea that the source star was unusually massive and had previously ejected much of its outer layers. These outer layers would have cloaked the star and reabsorbed much of the light released as the inner star collapsed.

Cas A is 3C461 in the Third Cambridge Catalogue of Radio Sources and G111.7-2.1 in the Green Catalog of Supernova Remnants.

It is known that the expansion shell has a temperature of around 50 million degrees Fahrenheit (30 megakelvins), and is travelling at more than ten million miles per hour (4 Mm/s).

Cas A is the strongest radio source in the sky beyond our solar system, and was among the first discrete sources to be found, in 1947. The optical component was first identified in 1950. In 1979, Shklovsky predicted that Cas A had a black hole. [cite journal | author=Shklovsky IS | title=Is Cassiopeia A a black hole? | journal=Nature | volume=279 | issue=5715 | year=1979 | pages=703 | pmid=16067999 | doi=10.1038/279703a0] In 1999, the Chandra X-Ray Observatory found a "hot point-like source" close to the center of the nebula that is quite likely the neutron star or black hole predicted but not previously found. [cite journal | author=Pavlov GG, Zavlin VE, Aschenbach B, Trumper J, Sanwal D | title=The Compact Central Object in Cassiopeia A: A Neutron Star with Hot Polar Caps or a Black Hole? | journal=Astrophysical Journal | volume=531 | issue=1 | year=2000 | pages=L53–L56 | pmid=10673413 | doi=10.1086/312521] [ [ Celebrating 5 Years with Chandra: Cassiopeia A ] ]


Calculations working back from the currently observed expansion point to an explosion around 1667, although astronomer William Ashworth and others have suggested that the Astronomer Royal John Flamsteed may have inadvertently observed the supernova on August 16, 1680, when he catalogued a star near its position. At any rate, no supernova in the Milky Way has been visible to the naked eye from Earth since. Observations of the exploded star through the Hubble telescope have shown that, despite the original belief that the remnants were expanding in a uniform manner, there are 2 opposing jets of debris that are traveling at 32 million miles per hour. This speed is estimated to be 20 million miles per hour faster than the rest of the debris. When the view of the expanding star uses colors to differentiate materials of different chemical compositions, it shows that similar materials often remain gathered together in the remnants of the explosion.

Observation of supernova reflected echo

Recently, infrared echo of Cassiopeia A explosion was observed on nearby gas clouds [cite journal | author=Krause O, Birkmann SM, Usuda T, Hattori T, Goto M, Rieke GH, Misselt KA | title=The Cassiopeia A Supernova was of Type IIb | journal=Science | volume=320 | issue=5880 | year=2008 | pages=1195–1197 ] using Spitzer Space Telescope. The recorded spectrum proved the supernova was of Type IIb, meaning it resulted from the internal collapse and violent explosion of a massive star, most probably a red giant. This was the first observation of the infrared echo of a supernova which explosion had not been directly observed which opens up the possibility of studying and reconstructing past astronomical events [cite journal | author=Fabian AC | title=A Blast from the Past | journal=Nature | volume=320 | issue=5880 | year=2008 | pages=1167–1168 ] .

ee also

* List of supernova remnants


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