What's up August 19?

Right now NuSTAR is looking at a famous remnant of a supernova explosion in the constellaton Cassiopeia.   The remnant, called "Cas A" is the brightest extrasolar radio source in the sky.   The supernova occurred approximately 11,000 light-years (3.4 kpc) away in the Milky Way.The expanding cloud of material left over from the supernova is now approximately 10 light-years (3 pc) across. Despite its radio brilliance, however, it is extremely faint optically, and is only visible on long-exposure photographs.

NuSTAR's high energy X-ray image will trace the distribution of radioactive elements in this remnant, telling us about the explosive dynamics in the core of the supernova.

The NuSTAR team is working hard to interpret the data taken during calibration of the observatory so that the data from this science observation can be used to understand the absolute brilliance of this object in the high energy X-ray region of the spectrum.

uews© Caltech 2012