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What kind of radiation do supernova remnants emit?

What kind of radiation do supernova remnants emit?


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Do supernova remnants emit EM radiation? Moreover can neutrinos be emitted by these remnants?


I assume you are talking about neutron stars. Some supernovae leave nothing except a black hole, and these dense remnant objects are typically surrounded by a lot of more scattered material that was blown off before and during the supernova.

Neutron stars and nebulae emit a wide range of EM radiation by a number of mechanisms: straightforward thermal radiation from very hot material; synchrotron radiation from charged particles moving in very strong magnetic fields and possibly other ways.

In the early stages after the supernova neutrinos will be emitted from the neutron star as it cools, and from radioactive isotopes in the nebula, but both of these processes will wind down over time, probably more quickly than the EM radiation decays.


Young supernova remnant release a substantial amount of radiation as they expand into the interstellar medium. In the free expansion phase, the outgoing shock wave heats up matter to $sim10^6$ Kelvin, producing thermal x-ray emission. Throughout their lives, the remnants are responsible for quite a lot of non-thermal emission, including synchrotron radiation from relativistic electrons. This synchrotron emission stretches throughout the electromagnetic spectrum, including at radio frequencies. There is, additionally, non-thermal gamma ray emission through several mechanisms, including inverse Compton scattering and hadronic interactions.

Supernova remnants are also thought to be one of the main sources of galactic cosmic rays. Protons are accelerated through the shock front to energies of up to a few petaelectronvolts. Cosmic ray production may be associated with gamma ray emission if there is additional dense gas for the cosmic rays to interact with.

This brings us to the final point of your question: yes, supernova remnants are responsible for some neutrino production. Those cosmic ray/gas interactions produce (in addition to those gamma rays) neutrinos through hadronic channels and the decays of short-lived intermediate particles, including pions and kaons. This also means that probing the gamma ray spectrum of a supernova remnant can tell us something about its neutrino spectrum.


Supernova Remnants

It was the 4th of July, almost 1000 years before the United States would celebrate their first Independence Day. In 1054, while most of Europe went about their daily lives with little scientific inquiry, others around the world noticed a star in the sky that suddenly became brighter than all the other stars in the sky. This had never happened before, and those who noticed it knew that something new was occurring -- that is, new to recorded history.

Chinese astronomers called it a "guest star" in the Constellation of Taurus. The Muslim world took note of it, and recorded sighting it. On the other side of the world, in what is now New Mexico, one of the Ansazi ancestors of the Hopi noted a new, bright star, and drew its picture on the nearby cliff walls. (Thorne, 235)

This occurrence was the formation of what scientists today call . As the cosmos continually evolves, stars with a certain mass, age, and environment run out of fuel, shrink, and then violently explode. The 1054 supernova was so bright that one could read by its light during the night. (Thorne, 237) It left remains that one can still see today through a telescope: the Crab Nebula. Shaped remotely like a crab, these remnants of that spectacular occurrence will remind us of the star's death for eons to come.


Gamma-ray Supernova Remnants Shed Light on Cosmic Rays

By: Elizabeth Howell April 18, 2018 3

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Astronomers have found the gamma-ray-emitting remains of three exploded stars, and the remnants might reveal the origin of cosmic rays.

Astronomers are hoping to learn more about the mysterious nature of cosmic rays by scrutinizing three possible supernova remnants that are emitting very high-energy gamma rays.

Three supernova remnant candidates (insets) were found in the HESS Galactic Plane Survey (top). The HESS survey map is overlaid on a molecular gas all-sky map from the Planck satellite.
HESS Collaboration

A new Astronomy & Astrophysics paper presents a meta-analysis of the potential supernova remnants using data from the High Energy Stereoscopic System (HESS) telescope array in Namibia. While much of the study expands on previous research, the findings provide a point of comparison for scientists studying the origin of cosmic rays, energetic particles that fly through the Milky Way at relativistic speeds.

Very high-energy gamma rays are the most energetic form of radiation and have the smallest wavelengths on the electromagnetic spectrum. They are emitted during extremely energetic events, such as the aftermath of supernova explosions. HESS is optimized to find the most energetic gamma rays, with energies between 0.03 and 100 teraelectronvolts (TeV). (One TeV is equivalent to the energy carried in a flying mosquito — a whopping amount when you consider that a proton is a trillion times smaller than a mosquito.)

As the expanding layers of an exploded star slam into the surrounding medium, the shocked gas emits radio waves, and sometimes gamma rays, too, though a supernova remnant has never been seen that solely radiates gamma rays. Yet the astronomers couldn’t pinpoint a radio source for two of three suspected remnants, possibly because they lie in the crowded plane of the Milky Way. More study will be needed to better understand the nature of these sources, says HESS collaborator Gerd Pühlhofer (University of Tübingen, Germany).

One of the larger goals of the HESS Galactic Plane Survey, from which this study comes, is to better understand the origin of cosmic rays. Cosmic rays are unstable, gradually decaying into other subatomic particles and emitting gamma rays in the process. Supernova remnants are the main source of the speedy particles, but exactly what processes accelerate them is still unclear.

The outward-expanding shock waves in supernova remnants ought to accelerate both electrons and protons, but electrons are easier to detect since they emit over the entire electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves to gamma rays. Protons, which make up 89% of all cosmic rays that reach Earth, reveal themselves only by gamma-ray radiation. That makes gamma rays ideal for detecting both types of cosmic rays. More observations of gamma-ray sources will help astronomers find the conditions needed to accelerate cosmic rays.

Bradley Schaefer (Louisiana State University), who did not participate in the research, cautions that the new paper is but one step toward understanding cosmic rays — it provides the data theorists need to move forward.


Newly discovered supernova remnants only reveal themselves at the highest gamma-ray energies

Positions of the newly detected supernova remnant candidates, emitting TeV radiation (shown in the bottom panels), on the H.E.S.S. Galactic plane survey map (shown at the center of the top panel). Credit: Universitaet Tübingen

The H.E.S.S. telescopes have surveyed the Milky Way for the past 15 years searching for sources of gamma radiation. The H.E.S.S. collaboration includes scientists of the Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics of the University of Tübingen led by Professor Andrea Santangelo and Dr. Gerd Pühlhofer. They are interested in sources of very high energy gamma radiation in the TeV energy range, i.e. in the range of 1012 electron volts, corresponding to a trillion of the energy of visible light photons. For the first time they have been able to classify celestial objects using only the emission of this kind of radiation: very likely they are supernova remnants, which are celestial objects that emerge after the explosion of massive stars. The results are published in a special edition of the scientific journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, which appears on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the H.E.S.S. telescopes with the largest set of science results of the project to date.

Over 200 sources of TeV radiation are known to date, both Galactic and Extragalactic. "We can often relate the radiation to known astrophysical objects that have been studied before with conventional telescopes in lower frequency bands, e.g. in optical or radio wavebands," says Gerd Pühlhofer. "Interestingly, however, with the survey observations along the Galactic plane that have been conducted with the H.E.S.S. telescopes, many new sources have been discovered which are not or not clearly associated with objects in lower frequencies." And the TeV gamma-ray data alone is usually not sufficient to attribute a source to a particular astrophysical type of object. "Those unidentified sources continue to remain a big puzzle in gamma-ray astronomy."

But the H.E.S.S. telescopes delivered data that are detailed enough that the scientists could get further. "For the first time, we are now able to classify unidentified TeV sources to be members of a particular object class, using only the TeV data," says Pühlhofer. "Three particular sources are now classified with high probability as supernova remnants."

A supernova remnant is a celestial object that forms after the explosion of a massive star at the end of its lifetime. The matter that is expelled in such an explosion leads to shock waves that propagate into the interstellar medium. There, the matter is heated and particles are accelerated to relativistic speeds. The particles interact with light and gas in the neighbourhood of the sources and thus produce very high energy gamma rays. "We have already known since well over a decade that some of the 300 known supernova remnants in our Galaxy shine brightly in TeV gamma-rays," explains Daniel Gottschall, Ph.D. student in Pühlhofer's research group. "But all these objects have been known before from observations in other wavebands and have been classified as supernova remnants," adds Massimo Capasso, also Ph.D. student in the research group.

The question remains, says Gerd Pühlhofer, regarding why these supernova remnants have escaped detection so far. "They are as large as the full moon, but totally invisible to the eye or to conventional optical, telescopes." He considers it possible that in previous sky surveys, because of their position in the Milky Way and because of their large extension, they were indistinguishable from the many other objects or they are partially covered by foreground gas. "A more exciting possibility would be if the new supernova remnants substantially differ from the other known big remnants that have been investigated with the H.E.S.S. telescopes before," he adds. "They may belong to a special flavour of supernova remnants whose gamma-ray emission is induced by hadrons."

The community of gamma-ray astronomers is currently preparing the much more sensitive next-generation instrument for TeV gamma-ray astronomy, the Cherenkov Telescope Array CTA. Scheduled to move into regular operations in the 2020's, it will provide a much more detailed and sensitive image of our Milky Way in gamma-rays.


Supernova remnant

Supernova remnant G292.0+1.8. This is a young, oxygen-rich supernova remnant with a pulsar at its center surrounded by outflowing material. It is shown here imaged in X-rays by the Chandra X-ray Observatory. With an age estimated at 1,600 yr and a diameter of 36 light-years, G292.0+1.8 is one of three known oxygen-rich supernovae in our Galaxy. These objects are of great interest to astronomers because they are one of the primary sources of the heavy elements necessary to form planets. Credit: NASA/CSX/Rutgers/J. Hughes et al.

The N49 supernova remnant shows its misshapen form in this composite image from three telescopes. Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Caltech/S.Kulkarni et al. Optical: NASA/STScI/UIUC/Y.H.Chu and R.Williams et al IR: NASA/JPL/R Gehrz et al.

Color-composite image of E0102-72.3 – a supernova remnant in the Small Magellanic Cloud. The Chandra X-ray image (blue) shows gas that has been heated to millions of degrees Celsius by a shock wave moving into matter ejected by the supernova. The radio image (red) made with the Australia Telescope Compact Array, traces the outward motion of a shock wave due to the motion of high energy electrons. The optical image (green) made with the Hubble Space Telescope, shows dense clumps of oxygen gas that have cooled to about 30,000°C.

Composite Chandra X-ray (blue) and Palomar infrared (red and green) image of supernova remnant W49B. Credit: NASA/CXC/SSC/J. Keohane et al.

A supernova remnant is an expanding diffuse nebula that consists of material ejected at speeds of about 10,000 km/s by a supernova together with swept-up interstellar matter. Supernova remnants are generally powerful radio and X-ray sources, and may or may not be visible at optical wavelengths.

There are several different types of supernova remnants:

Supernova remnants (SNR) tend to involve three main phases. During the first, known as free expansion, the front of the expansion is formed from the shock wave interacting with the ambient interstellar medium (ISM). This phase is characterized by constant temperature within the SNR and constant expansion velocity of the shell. In the second phase, known as the Sedov or adiabatic phase, the SNR material slowly begins to decelerate and cool. The main shell of the SNR experiences Rayleigh-Taylor instability, which causes the SNR's ejecta to become mixed with the gas that was just shocked by the initial shock wave. This mixing also enhances the magnetic field inside the SNR shell. The third phase, known as the snowplow or radiative phase, begins after the shell has cooled to about 10 6 K, so the shell can more efficiently radiate energy. This, in turn, cools the shell faster, making it shrink and become more dense, which cools it faster still. Because of the snowplow effect, the SNR quickly develops a thin shell and radiates away most of its energy as optical light. Outward expansion stops, the SNR starts to collapse under its own gravity, and, after millions of years, the remnant is absorbed into the ISM.


Gamma-ray emission detected from the supernova remnant G272.2-3.2

The 1◦ × 1◦ of TS map with 0◦.04 pixel size in the 0.2-500 GeV band is smoothed with a Gaussian function with σ = 0◦.3, and the SIMBAD location of SNR G272.2-3.2 is its center, marked as a black cross. The blue cross is its best-fit position. The solid and dashed blue circles were 1σ and 2σ error circles of the best-fit position of SNR G272.2-3.2, respectively. Green contours are from observation of XMM-Newton (Sánchez-Ayaso et al. 2013). Credit: Xiang and Jiang, 2021.

Using NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, Chinese astronomers have detected significant GeV gamma-ray emission from a supernova remnant (SNR) known as G272.2-3.2. The finding is detailed in a paper published March 29 on the arXiv pre-print repository.

SNRs are diffuse, expanding structures resulting from a supernova explosion. They contain ejected material expanding from the explosion and other interstellar material that has been swept up by the passage of the shockwave from the exploded star.

Studies of supernova remnants are important for astronomers, as they play a key role in the evolution of galaxies, dispersing the heavy elements made in the supernova explosion into the interstellar medium (ISM) and providing the energy needed for heating up the ISM. SNRs are also believed to be responsible for the acceleration of galactic cosmic rays.

G272.2-3.2 is a type Ia SNR detected in 1994 by the ROSAT X-ray satellite. Observations of this source revealed that it is a thermal composite SNR because of its thermal emission and non-shell-like morphology features. The distance to the object is estimated to be most likely 6,500 light years.

To date, no significant gamma-ray emission has been detected from G272.2-3.2. Astronomers Yun-Chuan Xiang and Ze-Jun Jiang of the Yunnan University in China have recently conducted a search for such emission which brought promising results.

"Through our preliminary analysis, we found a likely GeV gamma-ray radiation in the region of SNR G272.2-3.2 by checking test statistic (TS) maps, inspiring us to further explore its relative features in the GeV energy band," the astronomers wrote in the paper.

By analyzing the data from more than 12 years of observations with Fermi, the researchers identified a significant gamma-ray emission from G272.2-3.2 in the 0.2-500 GeV energy band. The magnitude of the source's GeV emission was found to be consistent with that reported in other thermal composite SNRs in our galaxy.

Furthermore, the GeV spatial position of G272.2-3.2 coincides well with that of the X-ray band from ESA's XMM-Newton spacecraft. No significant variability of this source was detected by analyzing its light curve. The newly found gamma-ray source appears to have a soft spectrum with a spectral index of approximately 2.56.

The obtained results allowed Xiang and Jiang to assume that the identified gamma-ray emission originates from SNR G272.2-3.2.

"A significant gamma-ray new source with approximately 5σ significance level is found from the region of SNR G272.2-3.2 its gamma-ray spatial distribution does not exist extended feature it has a soft spectrum with a spectral index of 2.56±0.01 no significant variability of its LC [light curve] is found its spatial positions in the X-ray and GeV bands well overlap. We suggest that the new gamma-ray source is likely to be a counterpart of SNR G272.2-3.2," the authors of the paper concluded.


How Many Years Does it Take to Get to the Center of a Supernova Remnant?

Editor’s note: Astrobites is a graduate-student-run organization that digests astrophysical literature for undergraduate students. As part of the partnership between the AAS and astrobites, we occasionally repost astrobites content here at AAS Nova. We hope you enjoy this post from astrobites the original can be viewed at astrobites.org.

Title: Indication of a Pulsar Wind Nebula in the hard X-ray emission from SN 1987A
Authors: Emanuele Greco et al.
First Author’s Institution: University of Palermo, Italy
Status: Accepted to ApJL

In 1987 astronomers witnessed the closest supernova in almost 400 years, subsequently called SN 1987A. At only 51.4 kiloparsecs (or about 167,000 light-years), SN 1987A’s home is in the Large Magellanic Cloud, and it was visible in the Southern Hemisphere with the naked eye for a few months before it faded. But one question that remains unanswered is what kind of object was left behind. The original star that created SN 1987A was a blue supergiant, which would have left behind either a black hole or a neutron star. Yet even with decades of observations by many telescopes spanning the electromagnetic spectrum, its nature has yet to be confirmed.

Why are astronomers still trying to figure out what was left behind in SN 1987A? One reason is that it would let us learn more about neutron star and black hole formation and the mechanics of supernovae. Another reason is that if this leftover object happens to be a pulsar, a neutron star that emits radio (and potentially X-ray or gamma-ray) pulses, then we would be able to observe its very early, formational years, which we know very little about. Recent work (like that discussed in this astrobite) suggests that a neutron star is the likely remnant, but we can’t say for sure. The authors of today’s paper attempt to confirm once and for all that the leftover remnant of SN 1987A is a neutron star.

Look with Your X-ray Eyes

To determine the nature of the object at the center of SN 1987A, the authors use X-ray observations taken between 2012 and 2014 by the Chandra X-ray Observatory, which observes X-ray photons between 0.1 and 10 keV, and NuSTAR X-ray telescope, which observes X-ray photons between 3 and 79 keV (though the full range of each telescope is not necessarily used in the analysis). The images of SN 1987A from these telescopes are shown in Figure 1, with redder colors representing more photons detected.

Figure 1: X-ray images of SN 1987A where redder colors represent more X-rays. Left: Image from the Chandra X-ray Observatory from 0.1–8 keV. The cyan circle shows SN 1987A, and the red circle shows the noise level of the background X-rays. Since the background is almost completely black, there is very little noise. Center: A zoom-in of the left panel. The X-ray dim center of SN 1987A is shown by the black circle in the center. Right: The NuSTAR image from 3–30 keV. SN 1987A is circled again in cyan, and the slightly noisier background is circled in red. SN 1987A still clearly stands out above the background. [Greco et al. 2021]

The second model is the same as the first, but it also includes a model for a highly absorbed pulsar wind nebula (PWN). PWNs are astronomical winds of charged particles accelerating close to the speed of light around a pulsar, and they are known to give off high energy X-rays. Being highly absorbed means that very few of the X-rays emitted by a PWN would escape the gas and dust that make up the supernova remnant of SN 1987A most are reabsorbed instead. The authors compute the residuals by subtracting these best-fit models from the X-ray spectra, shown in the bottom panels of Figure 2. The closer these residuals are to zero, the better the model. If this second model fits much better than the first, then the authors can say that there is very likely a PWN, and hence a neutron star, at the center of SN 1987A.

Figure 2: Combined X-ray spectra showing the number of X-ray photons observed in each energy bin of all Chandra and NuSTAR observations over the span of three years with different colors for each observation. Spectra from Chandra span 0.5–8 keV, and spectra from NuSTAR span 3–20 keV. The bottom panels show the residuals, or the spectra after the best-fit models have been subtracted off. Left: Spectra with a best-fit model containing just two thermal components. One can see that there is an excess of photons at energies higher than 10 keV in the bottom panel, as shown by the points all above the bright green zero line. Right: Same as the left, but the best-fit model has an absorbed pulsar wind nebula component in addition to the two thermal components. The excess X-rays at energies > 10 keV appear to be accounted for here. [Greco et al. 2021]

So What’s at the Center?

Unfortunately, the authors were unable to conclusively answer that question. They found that the model that includes a PWN is statistically slightly better than the one without (shown by the better residuals in Figure 2 at energies > 10 keV), but not so much that they can say anything definitively. They were able to come up with a way that the higher energy X-rays might be produced without a PWN, but it involves an extremely energetic shockwave expanding steadily outwards at the fastest speeds allowed with no slowing down. While this is possible, it is an unlikely physical scenario compared to just having a neutron star at the center of SN 1987A.

Despite the uncertainty still surrounding the central object of SN 1987A, all is not lost! The authors also did some simulations showing that, if there really is a PWN at the center of SN 1987A, then by the 2030s, fewer of the lower energy X-ray photons will be absorbed, allowing these photons to be more easily detectable with Chandra or potential future X-ray observatories. So while the nature of what SN 1987A left behind remains a mystery for now, we are getting increasingly closer to solving it.

Original astrobite edited by Anthony Maue.

About the author, Brent Shapiro-Albert:

I’m a fourth year graduate student at West Virginia University studying various aspects of pulsars. I’m a member of the NANOGrav collaboration which uses pulsar timing arrays to detect gravitational waves. In particular I study how the interstellar medium affects the pulsar emission. Other than research I enjoy reading, hiking, and video games.


What kind of radiation do supernova remnants emit? - Astronomy

Just like visible light, with its range of energies from red to blue, X-rays have a continuum, or a range of energies associated with it. X-rays usually range in energy from around 0.5 keV up to around 1000 keV.

Like line emission, continuum X-ray emission involves charged particles. Continuum emission is a result of the acceleration of a population of charged particles. All X-ray sources contain such particles. These particles must be at least partially ionized – their electrons need to be unbound from their nuclei to be free to zip around when they are heated to extreme temperatures. For an electron to radiate X-rays, the gas containing the electron must have extreme conditions, such as temperatures of millions of degrees, super-strong magnetic fields, or the electrons themselves must be moving at nearly the speed of light. Extreme conditions can be found in disks of matter orbiting black holes or in supernova remnants. Strong magnetic fields, like those created in the wake of a supernova explosion, can also accelerate fast moving ions in spirals around the field lines to the point of X-ray emission. Electrons can be accelerated to nearly the speed of light in the shockwave created by a supernova explosion.

There are three mechanisms that will produce a continuum X-ray emission. They are synchrotron radiation, bremsstrahlung, and Compton scattering. The radiation produced is continuous, and not at the discreet energies of line emission because the populations of electrons have a continuous range of energies, and they can be accelerated through a range of energies.

Sychrotron radiation is emitted when a fast electron interacts with a magnetic field. A magnetic field in an area an electron is traveling in will cause the electron to change direction by exerting a force on it perpendicular to the direction the electron is moving. As a result, the electron will be accelerated, causing it to radiate electromagnetic energy. This is called magnetic bremsstrahlung or synchrotron radiation (after radiation observed from particle accelerators by that name). If the electrons and the magnetic field are energetic enough, the emitted radiation can be in the form of X-rays.

Bremsstrahlung occurs when an electron passes close to a positive ion, and the strong electric forces cause its trajectory to change. The acceleration of the electron in this way causes it to radiate electromagnetic energy – this radiation is called bremsstrahlung, (literally, from the German meaning ‘braking radiation’). Thermal bremsstrahlung occurs in a hot gas, where many electrons are stripped from their nuclei, leaving a population of electrons and positive ions. If the gas is hot enough (millions of degrees Kelvin), this kind of radiation will primarily take the form of X-rays.

Comptonization is when a photon collides with an electron – the photon will either give up energy to or gain energy from the electron, changing the electron’s velocity as a result.

What are some Examples of This in Action?

Gas that is at about 10 million to 100 million degrees, such as the gas heated by a supernova explosion, produces most of its emission in X-rays from thermal Bremsstrahlung. Gas can be heated to these temperatures by the outward moving shock of a supernova explosion, or in an accretion disk around a black hole or neutron star. Synchrotron radiation can produce X-rays around supernova remnants (SNR), where the magnetic fields are strong and ions have been accelerated by the shock wave to high energies. X-rays produced by SNR require electrons with energies of about 10 4 GeV each (you would have to heat an electron to a temperature of about ten trillion degrees for it to have this much energy)! Synchrotron radiation and Compton scattered radiation are major components of the diffuse X-ray background and emission from active galaxies.


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What kind of radiation do supernova remnants emit? - Astronomy

Supernova remnants are beautiful astronomical objects that are also of high scientific interest, because they provide insights into supernova explosion mechanisms, and because they are the likely sources of Galactic cosmic rays. X-ray observations are an important means to study these objects. And in particular the advances made in X-ray imaging spectroscopy over the last two decades has greatly increased our knowledge about supernova remnants. It has made it possible to map the products of fresh nucleosynthesis, and resulted in the identification of regions near shock fronts that emit X-ray synchrotron radiation. Since X-ray synchrotron radiation requires 10-100 TeV electrons, which lose their energies rapidly, the study of X-ray synchrotron radiation has revealed those regions where active and rapid particle acceleration is taking place. In this text all the relevant aspects of X-ray emission from supernova remnants are reviewed and put into the context of supernova explosion properties and the physics and evolution of supernova remnants. The first half of this review has a more tutorial style and discusses the basics of supernova remnant physics and X-ray spectroscopy of the hot plasmas they contain. This includes hydrodynamics, shock heating, thermal conduction, radiation processes, non-equilibrium ionization, He-like ion triplet lines, and cosmic ray acceleration. The second half offers a review of the advances made in field of X-ray spectroscopy of supernova remnants during the last 15 year. This period coincides with the availability of X-ray imaging spectrometers. In addition, I discuss the results of high resolution X-ray spectroscopy with the Chandra and XMM-Newton gratings. Although these instruments are not ideal for studying extended sources, they nevertheless provided interesting results for a limited number of remnants. These results provide a glimpse of what may be achieved with future microcalorimeters that will be available on board future X-ray observatories. In discussing the results of the last 15 years I have chosen to discuss a few topics that are of particular interest. These include the properties of Type Ia supernova remnants, which appear to be regularly shaped and have stratified ejecta, in contrast to core collapse supernova remnants, which have patchy ejecta distributions. For core collapse supernova remnants I discuss the spatial distribution of fresh nucleosynthesis products, but also their properties in connection to the neutron stars they contain. For the mature supernova remnants I focus on the prototypal supernova remnants Vela and the Cygnus Loop. And I discuss the interesting class of mixed-morphology remnants. Many of these mature supernova remnants contain still plasma with enhanced ejecta abundances. Over the last five years it has also become clear that many mixed-morphology remnants contain plasma that is overionized. This is in contrast to most other supernova remnants, which contain underionized plasmas. This text ends with a review of X-ray synchrotron radiation from shock regions, which has made it clear that some form of magnetic-field amplification is operating near shocks, and is an indication of efficient cosmic-ray acceleration.