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DEM L241: Hardy Star Survives Supernova Blast

deml241_label_525.jpg

When a massive star runs out fuel, it collapses and explodes as a supernova. Although these explosions are extremely powerful, it is possible for a companion star to endure the blast. A team of astronomers using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes has found evidence for one of these survivors.
This hardy star is in a stellar explosion's debris field - also called its supernova remnant - located in an HII region called DEM L241. An HII (pronounced "H-two") region is created when the radiation from hot, young stars strips away the electrons from neutral hydrogen atoms (HI) to form clouds of ionized hydrogen (HII). This HII region is located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small companion galaxy to the Milky Way.

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Title: DEM L241, a Supernova Remnant containing a High-Mass X-ray Binary
Authors: F. D. Seward, P. A. Charles, D. L. Foster, J. R. Dickel, P. S. Romero, Z. I. Edwards, M. Perry, R. M. Williams

A Chandra observation of the Large Magellanic Cloud supernova remnant DEM L241 reveals an interior unresolved source which is probably an accretion-powered binary. The optical counterpart is an O5III(f) star making this a High-Mass X-ray Binary (HMXB) with orbital period likely to be of order tens of days. Emission from the remnant interior is thermal and spectral information is used to derive density and mass of the hot material. Elongation of the remnant is unusual and possible causes of this are discussed. The precursor star probably had mass > 25 solar masses

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