NASA shared a photo taken by the Chandra X-Ray Observatory showing a stunning image of a unique supernova remnant. The space agency explained that the cosmic object's box-like shape was caused by the supernova's interaction with its surroundings.
In NASA's recent Instagram post, the agency shared a photo of a supernova remnant known as 3C 397. According to the agency, this cosmic structure measures about 250 light-years wide. It can be found within the Aquila constellation and is about 33,000 light-years from Earth.
Reason Behind 3C 397's Odd Shape
Unlike most supernova remnants, which appear as massive blobs of expanding gas, 3C 397 has a very distinct and geometric shape. As seen in the photo taken by the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, the supernova remnant looks like a purple box floating in space. According to NASA, its unique shape was formed after the hot gas from the supernova came across the cooler gas in its surrounding region.
"3C 397 (also known as G41.1-0.3) is a Galactic supernova remnant with an unusual shape," the agency explained in a statement. "Researchers think its box-like appearance is produced as the heated remains of the exploded star -- detected by Chandra in X-rays (purple) -- runs into cooler gas surrounding it."
Infrared Emissions In 3C 397's Photo
In addition to the supernova remnant, NASA's photo also features other colorful cosmic objects. According to NASA, these colorful objects were actually produced by infrared emissions that were captured by various observatories such as the Spitzer Space Telescope.
"This composite of the area around 3C 397 also contains infrared emission from Spitzer (yellow) and optical data from the Digitized Sky Survey (red, green, and blue)," NASA stated.
Origin Of 3C 397 Supernova
A previous study conducted by NASA researchers revealed that it was actually created by a single white dwarf. The authors of the study were able to come up with this conclusion after measuring the mass of the origin star before it went supernova.
Their findings coincided with the notion that white dwarves are about as big as Earth but can be as massive as the Sun. Through the study, the researchers were able to conclude that the supernova was caused by a single white dwarf that died, and not by a pair of white dwarves that merged as previously believed.