Supernova Remnant RCW 86

This starry background has red clouds scattered across the image. There’s a wide arc of blue, white and green at the bottom right of the image, and a thin arc running over the left and top of the image. Together these arcs almost form a circle.
X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO & ESA; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech/B. Williams (NCSU)
CreditX-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO & ESA; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech/B. Williams (NCSU)
Historical DateFebruary 13, 2012
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This image combines data from four space telescopes to create a multi-wavelength view of all that remains of RCW 86, the oldest documented example of a supernova.

X-ray images from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA's (European Space Agency's) XMM-Newton Observatory were combined to form the blue and green colors in the image. The X-rays show the interstellar gas that has been heated to millions of degrees by the passage of the shock wave from the supernova.

Infrared data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and WISE, Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer, shown in yellow and red, reveal dust radiating at a temperature of several hundred degrees below zero, warm by comparison to normal dust in our Milky Way galaxy.