Astronomers first determined the chemical composition of supernova remnants. Observations of the W49B were carried out using the telescope of the European Space Agency (ESA) XMM-Newton, according to a study by scientists from Nanjing University, published on arxiv.org.
The remnants of supernovae are gas and dust formations that are the result of a catastrophic explosion of a star many tens or hundreds of years ago and its transformation into a supernova.
The study of supernova remnants is important for astronomers, since they play a key role in the evolution of galaxies, scattering the heavy elements formed during a supernova explosion in an interstellar medium and providing the energy necessary to heat it. It is also believed that such objects are responsible for the acceleration of galactic cosmic rays.
W49B is located at a distance of 26 thousand-36.8 thousand light years from Earth in the Milky Way – this is the brightest similar object in our Galaxy. In a new study, astronomers tracked the object and established its chemical composition.
The study showed the presence of excessive ionization of iron, as well as lighter elements such as silicon, sodium and calcium, in hot plasma W49B. The plasma mass of the object is about 4.6 solar masses, and its temperature differs depending on the distance from the center.