X-rays reveal how supernova became giant cosmic particle accelerator

The white dwarf that led to the historic Tycho supernova died in a violent explosion, but its legacy resembles a fluffy pink cotton ball.

The latest image released (opens in new tab) on Feb. 28 shows the Tycho supernova remnant (Tycho’s supernova or Tycho) as a neon pink cloud bordered by a thin red line. In new research, astronomers have mapped the geometry of the magnetic fields close to the shockwave in unprecedented detail, which is where they say charged particles are accelerated to light-like speeds before being streamed out as cosmic rays that eventually rain down on Earth.

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