NuSTAR Helps Understand How Stars Explode

NuSTAR Helps Understand How Stars Explode

NuSTAR image of Cas A.jpg

How does a star blow-up in a supernova? It is a mystery that is starting to be solved thanks to NuSTAR. Stars are big balls of gas so when they explode you would expect to see a uniform explosion, but this isn’t what we see. Now, thanks to NuSTAR it appears that the star literally sloshes around re-energizing shock waves that rip the star apart. It can do this as it has been able to map the radioactivity in a relatively young supernova. NuSTAR is capable of mapping radioactive elements in the supernova. In this case it is the element titanium-44 that is mapped and can be seen in blue in the image.

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Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/CXC/SAO

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