Low and medium energy X-rays in red and green show expanding debris from the supernova explosion. High energy X-rays in blue reveal the blast wave, a shell of extremely energetic electrons. Also shown in the lower left region of Tycho is a blue arc of X-ray emission. Several lines of evidence support the conclusion that this arc is due to a shock wave created when a white dwarf exploded and blew material off the surface of a nearby companion star (see accompanying illustration below). Previously, studies with optical telescopes have revealed a star within the remnant that is moving much more quickly than its neighbors, hinting that it could be the companion to the supernova that was given a kick by the explosion.
These pieces of evidence support a popular scenario for triggering a Type Ia supernova, where a white dwarf pulls material from a "normal," or Sun-like, companion star until a thermonuclear explosion occurs. In the other main competing theory, a merger of two white dwarfs occurs, and in this case, no companion star or evidence for material blasted off a companion, should exist. Both scenarios may actually occur under different conditions, but the latest Chandra result from Tycho supports the former one.
The shape of the arc is different from any other feature seen in the remnant. Other features in the interior of the remnant include recently announced stripes, which have a different shape and are thought to be features in the outer blast wave caused by cosmic ray acceleration.
Fast Facts for Tycho's Supernova Remnant:
Scale: Image is 10 arcmin across
Category: Supernovas & Supernova Remnants
Coordinates: (J2000) RA 00h 25m 17s | Dec +64° 08' 37"
Observation Date: 2 pointings between April 29, 2003 and May 3, 2009
Observation Time: 283
Obs. ID: 3837, 7639, 8551, 10093-10097; 10902-10904; 10906
Color Code: Energy: Red 1.6-2.0 keV, Green 2.2-2.6 keV, Blue 4-6 keV
Also Known As: G120.1+01.4, SN 1572
References Lu, F.J. et al, 2011, ApJ, 732:11
Distance Estimate About 13,000 light years