PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
RXJ 1713.7-3946 SNR, gamma ray image. This is a shell-type SNR (supernova remnant). An SNR is the expanding shell of gas and dust left behind after a massive star explodes as a supernova. The white contour lines mark significant areas of the same colour, showing the variation in energy from the average, going from blue through red to yellow (highest). The inset at lower left shows what the image would look like for a point source (like a star) as opposed to an expanding shell of gas and dust. As the shell impacts with the surrounding interstellar medium, the material heats up. The hottest areas emit gamma rays. This image was obtained with the HESS gamma ray telescope array in 2004.
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