New Stellar Danger to Planets Identified by NASA’s Chandra

Client: NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory
Date: 2023
Caption: A new study has examined the possible impact X-rays could have on planets within a certain distance of supernova explosions. Data from Chandra and other telescopes suggest that planets within about 160 light-years could be subjected to an intense wave of X-rays, which may significantly damage their atmospheres. This artist’s illustration shows such an affected planet in the foreground in the months to years after the explosion (seen in the background) after it has been bombarded by X-rays , as well as a second panel that shows the planet just as the supernova goes off. The study suggests that the areas within the Milky Way galaxy where conditions would be conducive for life as we know it would be smaller.
Image 1: Earth-like planet as having been abundant with life at the time of the nearby supernova, years before most of the X-ray’s impacts are felt.
Image 2: Months to years after the effects of the supernova reach the planet.
Image 3: The young supernova remnant.
Credit: NASA/CXC/Melissa Weiss