SELF CARE: GRAD TIP #4

Give yourself that much needed downtime.

You can’t do well if you don’t feel well.

And you won’t perform your best if you don’t give yourself time to rest. I came up with that. I’m pretty proud of that. 
If you can manage to make time for yourself to do something you really enjoy and has nothing to do with work or research or teaching, you can help battle those weeks where you just feel burnt out.
If you find yourself feeling lethargic, feeling less enthusiastic about your work than usual, feeling fatigued, tired, exhausted, having a lack of appetite or sleep or both, lacking the energy to do the basic things like taking a shower or your regular exercise routine, or maybe you can’t get yourself to go to that bonfire because you are just out of it, then you might be burnt out. It’s important to notice these signs because when they start to occur, it can begin to affect your work. Whether you realize it or not, not paying attention to your body and mind when you need a mental break will eventually make your work sloppier and less thorough. And nobody likes half-assed work.

Your boss won’t like it and maybe even you will feel like you didn’t meet your usual goal.

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So that you don’t get overworked and that’s okay.
I feel like this could be especially true in America where we all feel like we are never doing enough. We’re never making enough money, never saving enough money, never having enough things, never having enough success, never having enough TIME. We try to do so much but then tend to forget about the important things and that almost always includes our mind and body. In fact, if you check your work e-mail as you are waking up like I do, you’d probably even qualify as a workaholic. Most of us would probably take $20,000 per year in salary over more paid sick leave and vacation time, right? Here’s your sign: you’re a workaholic and you’ve been ignoring your body and mind’s needs. 

Furthermore, half or more of all employed Americans consider themselves workaholics, are currently stressed about work, check their work e-mails while waking up, spend hours staring at a screen (which could have profound impacts to your eyesight with time), and more. We have a serious problem. The same survey I am getting this information from (click here for the NY post just published in Feb of this year) says the following of the Americans who completed the poll:

  • 54% said they prioritize work before personal life
  • 51% said they worry about work on days off
  • 50% said they struggle to switch off or will actually work while on vacation
  • 48% said they check their e-mails in the middle of the night (that’s just crazy)
  • 46% said they are the first person to get to work and the last to leave
  • 46% said they feel pressured or too busy to take annual leave
  • 45% said they work through lunch
  • 45% said they feel anxious if they don’t check in or do not know what is going on at work
  • 44% said they are being told by friends and family that they work too much
  • 39% said they check e-mails first thing in the morning
If you find yourself doing one or more of these things, you have to learn how to relax. For the sake of your mind and body but also for your work. Let yourself be the best you can be in all realms of life by giving yourself that downtime. Don’t worry about work, don’t think about work, don’t think about deadlines, assignments, gossip, none of that. Do the things you really love. Whether it’s knitting, riding a motorcycle, snowboarding, running, sleeping, watching TV, just give into those guilty pleasures and let yourself do something just for fun.
No guilt, no strings, no consequences. Just you being you being with yourself doing something you want to do. 

I’m still learning how to stop and give myself a break. It’s definitely easier said than done, especially when you add other factors into the mix like mental illness, physical illness, children and spouses, personal duties at home, etc. So giving yourself a nice work-life balance is essential. Getting those basic skills down like managing your time can not only alleviate a lot of worry and stress but can also provide you windows of time for you to relax and not think (if that’s what you want) without any guilt. But, if you ever do need to check out but feel like you might be letting someone down, reach out to them and let them know your struggling. If they don’t understand, consider cutting that person out of your life if you can. If it’s your boss, certainly consider working somewhere else.

You deserve to have a boss and work environment that supports you and encourages you to take care of ALL of you, not just the part of you that generates good work and if you don’t have that, I urge you to try to find it elsewhere. It can make a world of difference.

Having the support and encouragement from your coworkers and boss can really change the way you deal with stress and pressure at work. It will make you overall happier! So if you are in a position where you can get out of that crappy work life, do it. If not, I surely hope one day you find a way to make both your personal and work life a safe space.

​Learn to say “no”. Don’t take on too much. Don’t force yourself to do things when all you feel like doing is resting after working hard for long periods of time. Not only will you thank yourself in the long run but your body and mind will thank you with a happier, healthier, and longer life because your needs have been met properly. Your personal and work life will thank you, too, because you’ll be performing better in all areas when you make sure you take a break once and a while.

Self care: Doing something you purely enjoy just because you want to do it.

Other ways to ensure you have good self care:

  • Get enough sleep
  • Regularly exercise
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Don’t skip meals
  • Socialize with close friends and/or family
  • Keep up with medical care (daily medications, meditation, going to regular counseling sessions, going to the doctor when your sick, paying attention to that nasty cough)
  • Manage your time wisely
  • Give yourself at least one day off per week
  • Do at least one enjoyable non-work related activity a day like reading, writing a journal entry, writing a blog post, watching TV, talking on the phone to your long-distance BFF, whatever floats your boat

VISITING CAMBRIDGE, MA

WAS AWESOME.

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Me posing in front of the mysterious historical observatory at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). I’ve tried to do some digging on the history of this guy but with no success as of yet.
First of all, just wow. I visited Cambridge, MA for the first time ever to begin moving into my new apartment up there, in preparation for my predoctoral fellowship with the CfA. I begin early January 2020! I also visited so I could take it all in and start visualizing myself living here.
I was really nervous about visiting because it’s a city. I’ve always hated cities. I denied this for a long time but after moving to the Appalachia to pursue physics in undergrad, I came to terms with it. I hated Richmond when I visited for college tours. And that was apparently that. My love for the mountains and wide open spaces grew as I moved further south to continue my education in Clemson, South Carolina. By the time got here, I had done away with thinking about living in the city. I started picturing myself buying a house in South Carolina – far from civilization, no neighbors, no homeowner’s association; just rolling hills and wildlife. That’s what I wanted (and I still do!). But for now, we are taking a little detour.
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Ugh ok. So I am an amateur photographer (for fun). This day, I COULD NOT get my camera to focus. This was the best I could get. Believe me though: with the moon out, the sparkling buildings towering over the park, and the colorful fall leaves, it was a gorgeous evening in downtown Boston.
And, oh man, was I in for a pleasant awakening. Maybe I still hate cities. I don’t know truthfully. But I do think I will love Cambridge. Where we live is a 10 minute bus ride to my work and a 10 minute bus ride to Harvard Square and from there, you can go anywhere! We have a grocery store just around the corner from our house. And, ironically, where we live in Cambridge is a lot quieter than where we live in Clemson. This is because in our Clemson house, the main road is directly behind us. We hear that traffic all day and all night. Only at about 3am does it cease momentarily for an eerie calmness. In Cambridge, I felt the same eerie calmness our first night in the apartment and then it hit me – it’s quieter ​here. Of course, that is some good luck. Oh also, we have a small backyard! That’s more than most city residents can say.
We have a fresh pond, literally called Fresh Pond, that is walking distance from our house, featuring a ~2 mile loop around the pond with both a dog beach and dog park so yeah – Ruca (the beagle) will LOVE it here. He also loves snow! Mars and Bella, the cats, on the other hand, have never even see snow. So that’ll be interesting to see.
And everyone is right about Cambridge. Even if you want a car, you simply won’t need one. Additionally, everyone is also right about parking: it’s a frikkin nightmare. I will have to become a MA resident in order to park my car on most any streets which should cost a few hundred dollars. Parking in general in Cambridge can be wildly expensive as well. However, my street is convenient. A $25 annual fee for a resident parking permit is required to be able to park pretty much anywhere in Cambridge and, luckily, my street is more residential and so there is plenty of parking. Anyway, I didn’t want my blog to focus on parking in Cambridge so, moving on.
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Another somewhat out-of-focus shot from the local park right off the Park redline T stop in Boston.
So I hate most cities. What makes Cambridge any different? First, there are two things I noticed right off the bat:

1. It’s clean
2. People are nice

Maybe you have had similar experiences in other cities, and that’s great! I’m happy for you and I truly hope you love where you are located now. But personally when I visited places like San Francisco, Richmond, Anchorage, Atlanta, etc., I couldn’t help but notice how nasty the city and the people can be.

To me, people in the city look depressed. They look down and walk fast, never noticing the world around them. Trash is littered on every street curb and cluttered on every street corner. The traffic is, like, insane. No matter what time of day. People will honk when you slow down to take a turn! Like, they legitimately get annoyed in the city when you inconvenience them for you to safely try to make a turn. Are you guys aware it’s just part of being a responsible vehicle operator? I don’t get that, lol.
In Cambridge, I will admit, it doesn’t seem like a “normal” city. It’s compact and has skyscapers and all but it doesn’t quite have the living-on-top-of-each-other feel. It still feels open. Of course, it could be just me.

Though Cambridge still feels pretty city. Public transportation is well-developed and reliable. It’s expensive to live here. Housing is at least triple the cost what it is in the south and groceries, too. For comparison, Noah and I pay $725 to rent a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom HOME with a nice front and backyard and a shed. In Cambridge, I pay nearly $1,000 per month for a SINGLE bedroom in a four bedroom apartment, shared with three other roommates.

Other things I really enjoyed about Cambridge:

  • THEY CHARGE FOR PLASTIC BAGS (WHICH IS GREAT)
  • Didn’t see a single confederate flag while visiting! (also great)
  • DOG FRIENDLY. People are not obsessed with rules on animals. People nonchalantly brought their non-service animals into food establishments regularly. I. Love. That. Ruca would hate it though if I tried to make him socialize like that but, I love that.
  • Public transportation is awesome
  • Beautiful city in the fall (Boston, too!)
  • They use the mail slots on the doors still like in Harry Potter. They don’t do mailboxes on our street. I know this might still be a standard in other places but it’s not where I come from!
Other things I did not so much care for in Cambridge:

  • Housing expense. Note: It is very hard finding pet friendly AND affordable housing. Not impossible though (cause I, afterall, found a good place satisfying both).
  • Car owner expenses. Yes, I am bringing my car so I can still do weekend trips out of town if I’d like and(or) for emergencies. I do not anticipate to need it regularly.

And, that’s really it for me: Juggling finances in the city. For me, that is going to be the biggest challenge. But as for the rest, I am SO excited!

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I can see both of our cats getting a kick out of our mail slot.

P.S. I’m OK with snow.

PART IV: FRESHMAN YEAR

We’re talking 2012.

I, uh, did some things that I will gloss over here. Let’s just say, I had a few tiny minor run ins with law enforcement when I was 18. But hey – I did my time! I volunteered for over 50 hours to a women’s shelter where domestic violence victims can begin to escape their spouse’s abuse. Many times children are involved. That was a very real time of my life. I honestly couldn’t stomach it and regrettably I admit that after only officially helping out at the secret shelter for a few days, I quit. 😦 I’m a quitter.

I really do have so much respect for people who work in social work and similar for having the stability to help calm people and bring them to a slightly better state. We did over 20 hours of training, learning methods when being on the suicide hotline; I knew what I needed to do and I did it. Oh, but the emotions of not knowing what happened and if they were okay after they hung up the phone. 

So – freshman year, I had no idea what I was doing! I began my first ever college semester with an ‘Undeclared’ major. I remember when I moved into my first dorm. I lived on the first floor of Tyler Hall in a dorm clearly designed for differently abled people. It was much larger than the other dorms with a large bathroom and large shower (with a foldable chair installed!). I woke my parents up legit at 4am like a kid on Christmas morning on move in day (Radford U is a good 4 hour drive from my hometown). I was both excited and terrified but let me explain – I was grounded pretty strictly that last month of the summer before heading to college because of my first underage drinking offense. So, at this point, I would do anything to get out of the house and away from my parents’ control (and back in trouble, apparently!). So we had the truck loaded with dorm accessories and necessities and headed from the coastal plains of the eastern coast of Virginia to deep into the Appalachian mountains.

Since I made my parents leave at 4am, we got there by 8am. And, since my dorm was on the first floor and close to Tyler Ave, we had a way easier time moving me into my dorm than most of the other parents who had to haul trip after trip of dorm goodies as far up as thirteen stories in the biggest (and oldest) dorm on campus, Muse Hall. We spent a few hours moving into my dorm and then explored town a little together. My dorm mate wouldn’t arrive to move in until about 10pm that night. She was a sophomore so it wasn’t that unusual. Most of the time freshman move in first because they are eager to explore and settle in.

When it was time for my parents to leave, I was really, really sad and scared and felt really alone. It started to dawn on me that for the first time ever, I was being left alone to my own devices in a strange town with strangle people (even though over a dozen of my high school class mates also moved in that day). I felt really alone. I don’t know, I can’t explain it, I guess I just realized how scary this new chapter could be for me. I hope I do okay in my college classes, I hope I am able to make friends, I hope me and my dorm mate get along, I hope I don’t walk into the wrong class room or get obviously lost on campus (by the way I do have a funny story on that topic) were all fears now running through my mind. 

As soon as my parents left, I texted a girl I almost roomed with, but ended up being switched into Tyler Hall at the last minute, to see if she wanted to hang out. I wanted to not be thinking about how terrified and alone I felt. I’m sure Brynne and her dorm mate felt the same way. And so, we met up. We became very close friends until she decided Radford wasn’t for her after her sophomore year, and went to Midway University in Kentucky to pursue Equine studies. We remain in touch to this day! I think fondly of our years at Radford together.

Halfway through my first fall semester at Radford is when I declared my major in physics.

I was doing well in my first college classes because they were all easy general education classes like Art 100, University 100 (freshman seminar), etc. I wasn’t taking any challenging courses at this time. No math, no introduction to astronomy, no physics 100. In fact, I did consider taking introductory astronomy with Dr. Brockway but the Quest guide they had at freshman orientation told me not to! She said, “Oh, yeah, if you’re not good at math then don’t take that course. It’s a lot of math.” I really regretted listening to her. Because of her remark, I did not take astronomy my freshman year. It didn’t hold me back but it certainly didn’t push me towards physics

My toughest class turned out to be philosophy 100. This was the class that kept me from getting straight A’s my first semester and I WAS SO UPSET. Especially because the class had no grading structure and I hadn’t the slightest idea I would earn a C in her class until, well, when I earned a C. I strived for straight A’s after that and to this day, I have never made straight A’s. Lol, it’s like I cursed myself somehow.

Our freshman seminar was meant to help us adjust to this new life and to learn to take advantage of various resources like club fairs and local town festivals and deciding what to major in. The town and region has a rich culture and they have many celebratory festivals and holidays – I really loved that about Radford. I even took an Appalachian studies class my first semester and I learned A LOT about the region. It is very interesting and inspiring but also sometimes sad and heartbreaking. This is where I started to truly appreciate the heritage of the South, of bluegrass and other music genres, of the hardship of the Appalachian peoples and minorities in the region. I treasure the knowledge I learned in that class to this day!

Though, the most I got out of my freshman seminar, University 100, was declaring my major in physics. My instructor for the course was encouraging, supportive, and helpful when I told her what I wanted to do. She walked me to the office of the department chair of Physics, Dr. Jaronski at the time, to get him to sign off on my major declaration. She was so happy and proud for me! I, on the other hand, was like

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I hope I made the right move?

Declaring my major in physics was not a pivotal moment, however. It was just the beginning.

And this is where shit gets crazy. I guess University 100 helped me more than I realized at the time because after declaring my major in physics – I wanted to immerse myself in that life. I went to the club fair (that we were graded on attending in University 100, lol) and signed up to join the Society of Physics Students (SPS). Then, I made my appointment with my new advisor, Dr. Brockway, the advisor for physics majors who want to concentrate on astronomy, to register for spring classes. He almost convinced me to pick up the second semester of physics without having taken the first half and having zero background in physics or calculus or math, really. I decided to wait to begin physics courses for the fall semester of my sophomore year and that turned out fine. Meeting with Dr. Brockway, I learned that Radford had their own state-of-the-art OBSERVATORY with a TELESCOPE! That sparked my interest and I would attend the public Friday night observing sessions whenever possib
le. This was truly the beginning of learning to not only make a decision to pursue something but also to go BIG with it; to immerse yourself in that subject and everything it has to offer. 

I believe this is how you can increase your chances in being successful at something. Commit to it, immerse in it, and work at thriving in it, in any way possible. Throw yourself into it. Throw your back into it. Jump off that edge and dive into it. Whatever metaphor you need to hear to convince yourself, just do it!

In the spring semester of my freshman year, I took my first ever calculus course. I studied. I did the homework. I emailed the professor and visited his office hours when I didn’t understand something. I was surprised this strategy actually worked – I got an A. But, the rest was not history

The fall semester of my sophomore year, I was in algebra-based physics, semester I. We learned vector addition, the kinematic equations, and Newton’s laws. Now, this stuff seems totally trivial to me but back then, I had no idea what was going on. In fact, I failed my first exam in the course, hard. I believe it was a 54. I remember the smelly guy next to me who had little interest in the course got a 55. That pissed me off. I’M A PHYSICS MAJOR, I thought, I SHOULD BE DOING BETTER THAN THIS GUY. I can be pretty competitive sometimes – it’s a blessing and a curse I think. But in this particular instance it motivated me to do better. I started studying. A lot. This is when I realized that I actually never knew how to study in high school. I never sat down and just practiced problems and concepts in high school and, for the first time ever, I was doing it for this physics course. I realized it’s not that I’m dumb and can’t understand physics, it’s that I was learning, for the first time, the tools I needed to succeed in physics. And only then, was the rest history. 

Part III: Radford University

Radford University was the best decision I ever made.

I may be a Clemson Tiger now, but I’ll always be a Highlander at heart. Yes, our mascot is a highlander: a dude in a plaid kilt playing the bag pipes, representing the Scotch-Irish heritage of the western part of Virginia, in the heart of the Appalachian mountains. I love that town and the school. 

This is the place where I discovered physics. 

I remember starting my senior year of high school not really sure what I wanted to do. Go to college? What were my other options? It didn’t really occur to me to start thinking about these things so far in advance. Soon, into the fall semester of my senior year, everyone is talking about college applications. I’m just like

I guess I should at least apply to college too? Idk. What else would I do? So I applied for Radford, Longwood, Virginia Commonwealth, James Madison, and George Mason. I got into all of them except for JMU and GMU. GMU waitlisted me but I never heard back. I visit Radford, Longwood, and VCU. Radford was by far my favorite. The campus was beautiful! We visited in April I think, over my spring break my senior year. I fell in love with the campus and the town. I loved that you could walk from one end of campus to the other in fifteen to twenty minutes AND the University sits in the Appalachian mountains where, at the top of Jefferson street, reveals a horizon of mountains. This is where I wanted to be! At this point, I hadn’t a thought about what I would study. I simply knew this is where I could see myself living and studying for four years. The rest can be figured out later. 

COMPOSITE SUPERNOVA REMNANTS

Let’s get comfortable with the systems that house pulsar wind nebulae. Those systems are what we call composite supernova remnants.

I’m assuming you have already read the first blog post and will use the terminology we have established there. If you haven’t read it yet, click here!

What are composite supernova remnants?

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This is a real image from the ROSAT satellite telescope in 1990 (and officially published and investigated by Lu & Aschenbach in 2000). This was the first ever X-ray image of the Vela supernova remnant (SNR) with this high of angular resolution.
First, let’s recap: supernova remnants occur when massive stellar systems collapse under their own gravity and then rebound back from their inert cores in a violent explosion, ejecting tons of mass with it, in all directions through space at thousands of kilometers per second. Note: Get comfortable with the metric here! All scientists, including Americans, use this measurement system (it’s way more convenient for a lot of reasons).

It’s a pretty violent event, right? There are two common supernova events you should be familiar with: Type Ia supernovae and Core Collapse (CC) supernovae.

Type Ia supernovae are distinct from CC supernovae both in their appearance, the light they give off, the elements present in their spectra, and in their origin.

Type Ia supernova remnants typically arise from a binary system of two massive stars (but not more massive than, say, 4 times the mass of the Sun). Both of these stars evolve very similarly: first on the main sequence branch where they burn hydrogen for several billion years, then they swell into a puffy and bright red giant as they exhaust their hydrogen, fusing the element into helium in a shell around a helium core. Eventually, the puffy red giant says “ENOUGH!” of all the nasty heavier elements accumulating around its inert core and the star expels all of the layers, leaving behind a smaller core of a star known as a white dwarf. (The now expelled layers are called a planetary nebula).

The white dwarf that is left very, very dense. The size of the star is comparable to the size of Earth but packed with a mass that is comparable to the Sun!

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Tycho’s SNR (aka SN 1572), a type Ia SNR. The colors indicate different ranges of X-ray emission. Soft X-ray emission fills the center of the SNR and harder X-ray emission delineates the edge. Note this is a movie – you can watch the SNR slowly expand over the course of over a decade.
Now, stars evolve based on how much hydrogen they have to burn. The more hydrogen you have, the more you burn, the faster you reach the white dwarf stage. Kapeesh?

Take one massive stellar companion and pair it up with one comparable in size, but smaller. Such that the more massive star will reach the white dwarf stage first. In this scenario, you have a white dwarf evolving around a middle-aged star that begins to enter its red giant phase. That means the white dwarf star is orbiting a star that is beginning to expand significantly into the orbit of the white dwarf. If the two stars are close enough, the white dwarf can actually start capturing matter from the surface of the red giant! We call this accretion. A white dwarf can accrete matter from its stellar companion if they are close enough in space. This causes a problem though. The white dwarf is already SO HEAVY. IT’S SO DENSE. IF IT TAKES ON TOO MUCH MASS IT WILL LITERALLY EXPLODE.

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Like dis.

And that, my friends, is a Type Ia supernova.

What is left behind after a Type Ia supernova explosion?
Answer: Nothing. The white dwarf explodes so violently, it obliterates the entire stellar system, leaving behind no core, no pulsar, nothing but the ejected mass that has been sent hurling through space at monstrous speeds. I guess I’m lying to you a little though because it’s not nothing. What is left behind is a bright and energetic supernova remnant left to its own demise as its mingles with the interstellar medium (i.e. the space and gas and dust that exists between star A and star B).

But, I still haven’t even touched on CC supernova remnants which is a great segue into composite supernova remnants, as composite remnants describe many CC supernovae. But since we already know what causes a Type Ia supernova, it’ll be easy to describe:
Take one really massive star that is at least 8 times the mass of the Sun. When the star runs out of hydrogen to burn in its red giant phase, the only thing left keeping the star from collapsing in on itself is the electron degeneracy pressure (oh, fancy talk!). The star is too massive at this stage to withhold the outer layers of the star against the iron core so, what happens? Kaboom!! A CC supernova occurs. This time what is left behind is a supernova remnant and the remaining core of the progenitor star (more fancy talk!). The core of the progenitor star is the neutron star and often powers a pulsar wind nebula. 

And just like that, we are familiar with the two most common types of supernova remnants found in our Galaxy. CC supernova remnants are the remnants that can be considered composite.

A composite supernova remnant is one that has all three components from a CC supernova: a pulsar, a pulsar wind nebula, and a SNR shell. All of these things have signatures in the light they give off and can be identified this way. 

Let’s briefly discuss the other two types of remnants and how we can distinguish between them all!

Shell remnants: Observed emission from these systems is dominated by only the shell of the remnant. Remnants of either class could be categorized as such (i.e. Type Ia or CC). A ring like structure that often radiates in radio and X-ray wavelengths is commonly seen with shell remnants.

Crab-like or plerionic remnants: Aptly named after the famous Crab nebula, Crab-like or plerionic remnants are CC supernova remnants that have observed emission coming mainly from the pulsar and/or pulsar wind nebula. The emission that comes from the pulsar and pulsar wind nebula is mostly attributed to highly relativistic electrons and positrons. 

It is sometimes observed for an SNR to have a filled center as opposed to a ring like structure. Depending on the nature of the emission, it could be thermal X-rays from hot supernova ejecta or non-thermal emission from the pulsar wind nebula.

In general, emission from the shell of the SNR can be thermal or non-thermal in nature; thermal emission can be radiated by hot gas that is along the edge of the SNR’s front shock and being close to thermal equilibrium, i.e, all of the particles here emit radiation at the same temperature. If the plasma is not in thermal equilibrium, then it is non-thermal in origin. We often see non-thermal emission from the plerion. In both instances, we can model with good precision the temperature (for thermal) and the behavior of the particles and thus understand where the emission (whether it’s X-ray or else) is coming from. A composite supernova remnant has emission from both the shell and the plerion.

Finally, in summary, we can also identify Type Ia and CC SNe based on the elements present in their spectrum. This is a very basic rule but it is a good one for Type Ia and Type II supernovae (note: CC supernovae are a type of Type II supernovae. For now just know that – we can revisit other types of Type II SNe later):
If you see hydrogen emission lines in the light spectrum of the SNR, it is likely a Type II supernova remnant. If you do not see hydrogen emission lines in the light spectrum of the SNR, it is likely a Type Ia supernova remnant. I use the word “likely” because its probable based on this rule but, there are other indicators! For example, the location of the SNR, the density of the surrounding region, and other emission lines in their spectra can provide clues to the event that occurred for the SNR to exist.

We know everything that we know about supernova remnants today based on the light they give off. We have not traveled to any particular remnant and observed them up close. Every. Single. Thing. That we understand about these systems comes purely from their light. Light tells us a story. Light has a history, a rich and deep one.

​And believe me, it has a lot to tell.

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I loved Zenon growing up! Now I just use this song as a pun.
For more information I love using this website for educational outreach: https://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/science/objects/supernova_remnants.html. There are other great resources listed at the end of the article as well. ​