Kepler's Odd Supernova
The remains of a supernova that was first seen more than 400 years ago is twisted like a pretzel in this recent image from the space-based Chandra X-Ray Observatory. Studying the remnant has helped astronomers classify the supernova, which was named after Johannes Kepler, who studied the star. In this image, red shows oxygen and other elements that have been heated by a blast wave from the supernova explosion; yellow shows iron and other heavy elements; green is other elements created in the explosion; and blue is from an expanding shockwave. [NASA/CXC/NCSU/S.Reynolds et al]
In the new Chandra Kepler image, red represents low-energy X-rays and shows material around the star -- dominated by oxygen -- that has been heated up by a blast wave from the star's explosion. The yellow color shows slightly higher energy X-rays, mostly iron formed in the supernova, while green (medium-energy X-rays) shows other elements from the exploded star. The blue color represents the highest energy X-rays and shows a shock front generated by the explosion.