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Team succeeded in precisely measuring expansion velocity of shockwave of supernova remnant W44

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Posted August 14, 2013
Precisely Measuring Velocity of Supernova Shockwave

Precisely Measuring Velocity of Supernova Shockwave
Figure 1) Radio wave image of the direction to the supernova remnant W44. (a) Line intensity map of HCO+ J=1-0 rotational transition, (b) Line intensity map of CO J=3-2 rotational transition, (c) Line intensity map of CO J=1-0 rotational transition, (d) Intensity map of 1.4 GHz radio continuum radiation. The red cross shows the position that the “super-high-velocity component” is detected. Credit: Keio University

A research team led by Tomoro Sashida and Tomoharu Oka (Keio University) has succeeded in precisely measuring the expansion velocity of a shockwave of the supernova remnant W44. The remnant is located in the constellation of Aquila, approximately 10,000 light-years away from our solar system. The team observed the high-temperature and high-density molecular gas in the millimeter/submillimeter wave ranges. The analysis shows that the expansion velocity of the W44 shockwave is 12.9±0.2 km/sec. In addition, it became clear that the supernova explosion released kinetic energy of (1-3)×1050 erg into the interstellar medium. The energy emitted from the Sun is approximately 3.6 × 1033 ergs/sec. Can you image how enormous amount of energy is released from the supernova explosion? Furthermore, other molecular gas with an extremely high velocity of higher than 100 km/sec was also detected. The origin of this super-high-velocity molecular gas remains unclear at the present time.

A star with a mass of more than eight times of the Sun releases tremendous energy when it is dying and undergoes a supernova explosion. The shockwave caused by the supernova explosion expands, having a strong impact on the composition and physical state of surrounding interstellar materials. It also emits kinetic energy into interstellar space. “Galactic winds” blasting out a large amount of gas are often observed in galaxies where explosively active star formations take place. The energy source of such galactic wind is also thought to be many supernova explosions.

Read more at: Phys.org

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