Why do supernova remnants look like rings rather than spheres?
When I see supernova explosions depicted on tv i.e. Discovery, tlc etc, the supernovae expansions are shown as a ring. Shouldn't they be in the form of a sphere? Doesn't the result of an explosion go outwards in all directions?
It is spherical, but it looks like a ring. Spherical shells tend to look like rings when projected on the sky. This effect is called "limb brightening". The idea is that if you're looking towards the center of spherical shell, you're not seeing much material along your line of sight, so it's transparent. But along the edges of the shell, you're looking through a lot of material, so it's opaque.
Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:
- Podcast? Subscribe? Tell me about the Ask an Astronomer Podcast
- Subscribe to our Podcast | Listen to our current Episode
- Cool! But I can't now. Send me a quick reminder now for later.
How to ask a question:
If you have a follow-up question concerning the above subject, submit it here. If you have a question about another area of astronomy, find the topic you're interested in from the archive on our site menu, or go here for help.Table 'curious.Referrers' doesn't existTable 'curious.Referrers' doesn't exist
This page has been accessed 19629 times since November 13, 2002.
Last modified: November 13, 2002 8:22:03 PM
Ask an Astronomer is hosted by the Astronomy Department at Cornell University and is produced with PHP and MySQL.
Warning: Your browser is misbehaving! This page might look ugly. (Details)