Astronomers think that a Type Ia supernova is a thermonuclear explosion – involving the fusion of elements and release of vast amounts of energy − of a white dwarf star in a tight orbit with a companion star.
If the white dwarf’s partner is a typical, Sun-like star, the white dwarf can become unstable and explode as it draws material from its companion. Alternatively, the white dwarf is in orbit with another white dwarf, the two may merge and can trigger an explosion.
The Chandra X-ray Observatory is part of NASA’s ﬂeet of “Great Observatories” along with the Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitizer Space Telescope and the now decommissioned Compton Gamma Ray Observatory.
Chandra provides X-ray images of exotic environments to help scientists understand the structure and evolution of the Universe. The program is managed by NASA’s Marshall Center for the Science Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC.
The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is responsible for day-to-day ﬂight operations and science activities.
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.