When a really massive star - that is, one at least ten times more massive than our sun - reaches the end of its life and runs out of hydrogen to fuse inside its core, it certainly doesn't go quietly into the night. Instead it explodes as a supernova (specifically a Type II supernova), violently casting off its outer layers and scattering star-forged elements throughout space, briefly outshining all other stars in its galaxy.
The steadily-expanding shells of gas and star-stuff created in the explosion remain visible long after the supernova occurs. These supernova remnants glow brightly in many wavelengths of light - some visible to our eyes, most not - each relating to specific temperatures and elements found in the cast-off debris.
ANALYSIS: Star Survives Supernova Blast to the Face
As it plows through space at supersonic speeds the shockwave from the supernova remnant also interacts with interstellar material, clearing it away, compressing it, and causing it to glow as well.
Using data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA's XMM-Netwon, astronomers have identified one such remnant in our galaxy that has swept up a surprisingly large amount of material. Named G352.7-0.1, this supernova remnant is located 24,000 light-years away in the constellation Scorpius. It has pushed aside the equivalent of 45 solar masses - that's 45 suns' worth of interstellar "stuff," not including the mass of the original star.