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Tycho's Supernova Remnant. In 1572, the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe observed and studied the explosion of a star that became known as Tycho's supernova. More than four centuries later, Chandra's image of the supernova remnant shows an expanding bubble of multimillion degree debris (green and red) inside a more rapidly moving shell of extremely high energy electrons (filamentary blue). Press Release. Also available at

As a huge ball of exploding plasma, it was Irving Langmuir who coined the name plasma because of its similarity to blood plasma, and Hannes Alfvén who noted its cellular nature. The filamentary blue outer shell of X-ray emitting high-speed electrons is also a characteristic of plasmas.

This is a false-colour x-ray image in which the energy levels (in keV) of the x-rays have been assigned a colours as follows: Red 0.95-1.26 keV, Green 1.63-2.26 keV, Blue 4.1-6.1 keV. All x-rays images must use processed colours since x-rays (as are radio waves, infra-red) are invisible to the human eye. But they are not invisible to suitable equipment, such as x-ray telescopes. The red and green bands highlight the expanding cloud of plasma with temperatures in the millions of degrees. The blue band shows a surrounding shell of extremely high energy electrons.

Credit: NASA/CXC/Rutgers/J.Warren & J.Hughes et al.


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Originally uploaded on the En-Wiki by en:User:Iantresman 12:40, 23 September 2005

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