Supernovas are the remnants of catastrophic explosions, and they are among the favorite targets of scientists who use Chandra, for good reason too. Supernovas and their remnants have proven to be extremely important in understanding topics ranging from the birth of our Solar System to the history and composition of the Universe itself.
When a star explodes, it leaves behind a debris field of stellar material and high-energy particles known as a supernova remnant. Astronomers use Chandra to study these remnants that can produce intense X-ray radiation for thousands of years. Supernova remnants are responsible for seeding cloud that formed our Sun, planets, and ultimately us with elements like nitrogen and oxygen.
A supernova is the dramatic end of a supergiant star's life. The Crab Nebula is the remnant of a powerful supernova which was visible from Earth in the year 1054. This supernova was so bright that it could be seen in the daytime sky for 23 days, and it was documented by astronomers throughout the Far East. The Crab Nebula is found in the constellation of Taurus and got its name because its outer shape roughly resembles a Crab's pincer.