Astronomers photographed the remnant of the first documented supernova

The presented image was obtained by the 0.9-meter SMARTS telescope located on the territory of the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory. The image demonstrates the RCW 86 deep space object.

he remnant of a supernova RCW 86. Source: CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA

RCW 86 is the remnant of a supernova located at a distance of approximately 9 thousand light-years from Earth at the junction of the constellations Circinus and Centaurus. It is an expanding shock wave consisting of ejected stellar material, as well as compressed matter of the interstellar medium. The results of observations made by the Chandra X-ray telescope indicate that RCW 86 was formed as a result of the death of a white dwarf. It absorbed too much of its companion’s matter and crossed the Chandrasekhar limit (1.4 solar masses), which led to its thermonuclear explosion.

Many researchers correlate RCW 86 with the first ever documented supernova. Its appearance was noted by Chinese chroniclers in 185 BC. RCW 86 is located on the same part of the sky and has a suitable age.

You can also read about how scientists found supernova matter in a meteorite.

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