Featured Image: Hunting for Past Fireworks

NGC 6946 SNRs

Supernova remnants in the spiral galaxy NGC 6946. Field is the same as that shown in the full image above. [Long et al. 2019]

The face-on spiral galaxy NGC 6946 is revealed in the stunning false-color image above (click for the full view), constructed from observations of three emission lines with the WIYN telescope at Kitt Peak Observatory. NGC 6946 is undergoing a major starburst, earning it the moniker “the Fireworks Galaxy”; evidence of its star-forming activity can be seen in the 10 supernovae (labeled in yellow) that have been observed within it since 1917. In a recent study led by Knox Long (Space Telescope Science Institute and Eureka Scientific, Inc.), scientists have undertaken a new optical search of NGC 6946 for supernova remnants — the ghostly remains of past stellar explosions. The resulting data to the right shows that NGC 6946 is positively rich with supernova remnants; green circles indicate remnant candidates found in a previous study, and blue circles indicate new remnant candidates discovered in optical in the current study. Red markers indicate objects for which the authors obtained spectra, reported in this study. To learn more, check out the article below.


“A New, Larger Sample of Supernova Remnants in NGC 6946,” Knox S. Long et al 2019 ApJ 875 85. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/ab0d94

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