Did JWST plus ALMA reveal how pulsars form?

In 1987, humanity took notice The closest supernova Since 1604.

In 1604, the last naked-eye supernova occurred in the Milky Way, known today as the Kepler supernova. Although the supernova faded from naked eye view by 1605, its remnants are still visible today, shown here in a composite X-ray/optical/infrared image. The bright yellow “lines” are the only element still visible in the visual field, more than 400 years later.

credit: NASA, R. Sankrit (NASA Ames) and WP Blair (Johns Hopkins University.)

From 165,000 light-years away, the core of a giant blue star has collapsed.

Supernova remnant SN 1987a

This optical image, captured by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2017, shows the remnants of supernova SN 1987a exactly 30 years after its explosion was observed. Located about 165,000 light-years away in the Large Magellanic Cloud, on the outskirts of the Tarantula Nebula, this supernova is the first and only supernova discovered within our Local Group in more than 100 years.

credit:NASA, ESA, R. Kirshner (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation), P. Challis (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)

The first signals detected were neutrinos: they arrived in a burst lasting about 12 seconds.

Neutrinos SN 1987a

Three different detectors have detected neutrinos from SN 1987A, with KamiokaNDE being the most powerful and successful. The shift from a nucleon decay experiment to a neutrino detector experiment would pave the way for the development of neutrino astronomy. The light from the supernova won’t arrive until hours later.

credit: Rhea and Astroria / Wikimedia Commons

After hours, The light arrivedindicating a supernova collapsing.

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Next, we carefully observed the expanding and developing remnants.

This image shows the supernova remnant SN 1987a in six different wavelengths of light. Although it’s been 36 years since this explosion, and even though it’s here in our backyard, the material around the central engine hasn’t been cleared enough to reveal the remnants of stars. By contrast, CWs (also known as blue fast visual transients) expose their nuclei almost instantly.

credit: Alak Rai, Natural Astronomy, 2017; ACTA/ALMA/ESO/Hubble/Chandra Composite

In the suburbs, gas shells that exploded centuries ago continue to expand.

Remnants of sn 1987a

The remnant of Supernova 1987a, located in the Large Magellanic Cloud about 165,000 light-years away. It was the closest supernova observed to Earth in more than three centuries, with a maximum magnitude of +2.8, clearly visible to the naked eye and noticeably brighter than its host galaxy.

credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA

Inside, supernova shock waves heat a spherical halo of matter.

SN 1987a Hubble Chandra Radio

Hubble’s optical observations of Supernova 1987A become even more valuable when combined with observations by telescopes that can measure other types of radiation from the exploding star. The image shows advanced images of the hotspots from the Hubble Telescope along with images taken around the same time from the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Australian Telescope Integrated Array (ATCA) radio observatory. The X-ray images show an expanding ring of gas, hotter than a million degrees, that apparently reached the optical ring at the same time as the hot spots. Radio images show a similar expanding ring of radio emission, caused by electrons moving through the magnetized material at nearly the speed of light.

credit: R. McCray (University of Colorado), D. Burrows and S. Park (Penn State University), and R. Manchester (Australian National Telescope Facility)

Energy injection causes irregular changes in brightness and X-ray and radio emission.

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A diagram showing a ring of stars and the JWST.

Combined observations at long wavelengths show that the remnant continues to expand, and the interstellar luminosity continues to rise in the vicinity of the initial explosion. Brightness in a variety of wavelengths of light continues to evolve as different shapes of projectiles strike and heat the surrounding material, causing it to radiate.

credit: Lester Staveley-Smith (UWA), Louis Paul (ATNF), Brian Gensler (USyd), Mike Kesteven (ATNF), Dick Manchester (ATNF) and Tasso Tziumis (ATNF).

But the inner region of this explosion remains mysterious.

SN 1987a Chandra X-ray

The outward-moving shock wave of material from the 1987 explosion continues to collide with ejecta from the former massive star, heating and illuminating the material as the collisions occur. A wide range of observatories continue to image the supernova remnant to this day, tracking its evolution. However, the interior remains largely covered in dust, preventing us from knowing what’s really going on inside.

credit: J. Larson et al., ApJ, 2019

The essence of the collapse Should create huge residue: a neutron star.

The Crab Nebula is a multi-wavelength pulsator

Taken together, five different wavelengths reveal the true splendor and diversity of phenomena that occur in the Crab Nebula. The X-ray data shows, in purple, the hot gas/plasma created by the central pulsar, which is clearly identifiable in both the single and composite image. This nebula originated from a massive star that died in a supernova that collapsed in its core in 1054, shining bright light across the globe, allowing us, in the present day, to reconstruct this historic event.

credit:c. Dubner (IAFE, CONICET-University of Buenos Aires) et al; NRAO/AUI/NSF; a. lol et al; T. Tamim et al.; F. Seward et al.; Chandra/CXC; Spitzer/JPL-Caltech; XMM-Newton/ESA; and Hubble/STScI

Similar supernova 1054 led to today Pulsating crab.

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Pulsating crab remains

A combination of X-ray, optical and infrared data reveals the central pulsar at the heart of the Crab Nebula, including the winds and outflows that the pulsars carry into the surrounding matter. The bright purple-white central spot is actually the Crab pulsar, which itself spins about 30 times per second. The material shown here spans about 5 light-years and originated from a star that went supernova about 1,000 years ago, which tells us that the typical velocity for projectiles is about 1,500 kilometers per second. The neutron star originally had a temperature of about 1 trillion K, but to date it has already been cooled to “only” about 600,000 K.

credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Optical: NASA/STScI; Infrared: NASA-JPL-Caltech

However, there is no neutron star pulsar Associated with SN 1987a.

A massive neutron star

This image shows an illustration of a massive neutron star, along with the distorting gravitational effects that an observer would see if they were able to see this neutron star at close range. While neutron stars are famous for pulsing, not every neutron star is a pulsar. It is currently unknown whether the remnant of SN 1987a will evolve into one.

credit: Daniel Molybdenum/Flickr and Raphael Concord/Wikimedia Commons

However, there are two pieces of evidence that suggest this One can develop.

ALMA's multi-wavelength remnant SN 1987a

As the core region of SN 1987A continues to evolve, the central dusty region will cool and much of the radiation masked from it will become visible, while the central remnant will also continue to cool and evolve. It is possible that, when this happens, the periodic radio pulses become observable, revealing whether the central neutron star is a pulsar or not.

credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), P. Cigan and R. Indebetouw; NRAO/AUI/NSF, b. Saxton; NASA/ESA

ALMA notes reveal Huge amounts of internal gas And dust.

NASA's supermassive black hole was observed using the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

ALMA’s high-resolution images have revealed a hot “bubble” in the dusty core of supernova 1987A (inset), which could be the expected location of the neutron star. The red color shows the cool dust and gas at the center of the supernova remnant, captured at radio wavelengths with ALMA. The green and blue colors reveal where the expanding shock wave from the exploding star hits the ring of material around the supernova. An observatory such as the James Webb Space Telescope is ideal for detecting matter in the “dark” regions of this image.

credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), P. Cigan and R. Indebetouw; NRAO/AUI/NSF, b. Saxton; NASA/ESA

Indicates a central “hot spot”. The presence of a newborn neutron star.

Alma Central Gas Central SN 1987a

At the center of the remnant of SN 1987a, ALMA, thanks to its amazing resolution and long-wavelength capabilities, was able to observe a particularly hot spot within the gas and dust contained in SN 1987a. Many believe the excess heat is an indication of a young neutron star, making this the smallest neutron star ever discovered.

credit: B. Sijan et al/Cardiff University

Now, join JWST, Showcasing her unique looks.

SN 1987a JWST Webb Annotated Features

The Webb NIRCam (near infrared camera) captured this detailed image of SN 1987A (Supernova 1987A), which has been annotated to highlight key structures. In the center, the material ejected from the supernova forms a keyhole shape. To its left and right are faint crescents recently discovered by Webb. Behind them is an equatorial ring, made of material ejected tens of thousands of years before the supernova explosion, containing bright hotspots. Outside of that there is diffuse emission and two faint outer rings.

credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, Mikako Matsuura (Cardiff University), Richard Arendt (NASA-GSFC, UMBC), Claes Fransson (Stockholm University), Josephine Larsson (KTH); Therapist: Alyssa Pagan (STScI)

Newly revealed features Includes “crescents” that appear in gas.

SN 1987a JWST

The innermost region of the remnant of SN 1987a, as revealed by the James Webb Space Telescope, shows light-blocking gas and dust at the center, and crescent-like shapes, all within the spherical region of hot gas affected by the supernova’s ejections. The features of the crescent, in particular, have not been seen by any telescope before the James Webb Space Telescope, and its nature has not yet been revealed.

credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, Mikako Matsuura (Cardiff University), Richard Arendt (NASA-GSFC, UMBC), Claes Fransson (Stockholm University), Josephine Larsson (KTH); Therapist: Alyssa Pagan (STScI)

Are they regular projectiles or shapes sculpted by magnetic fields?

Remnants of Sn 1987a

The supernova explosion enriches the surrounding interstellar medium with heavy elements. This illustration of the remnant of SN 1987a shows how material is recycled from a dead star into the interstellar medium. However, what exactly is happening at the center of the remnant remains a mystery, as even JWST’s powerful NIRCam imager cannot fully penetrate the light-blocking dust to see what’s inside.

credit: ISO/L. calzada

The evolution of the supernova remnant will eventually reveal the object contained within.

Hand of God Wind Nebula Pulsar

A small, dense object only twelve miles in diameter is responsible for the X-ray nebula that extends about 150 light-years across. This pulsar rotates approximately 7 times per second, and has a magnetic field on its surface estimated to be 15 trillion times stronger than Earth’s magnetic field. Perhaps, within what remains of SN 1987a, a modern version of this phenomenon is occurring.

credit: NASA/CXC/CfA/P. Slane et al.

We may be witnessing the formation of the newest pulsar of our local cluster.

Magnetic field of a neutron star

This computer simulation of a neutron star shows charged particles orbited by the neutron star’s extremely strong electric and magnetic fields. A neutron star may have formed within the remnants of SN 1987a, but the region is still too dusty and gas-rich for “pulses” to escape.

credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Mostly Mute Monday tells an astronomical story with pictures, visuals, and no more than 200 words.

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