A Collection of New Images Reveal X-Rays Across the Universe

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One of the miracles of modern astronomy is the ability to ‘see’ wavelengths of light that human eyes can’t. Last week, astronomers put that superpower to good use and released five new images showcasing the universe in every wavelength from X-ray to infrared. Combining data from both Earth- and ground-based telescopes, the five images reveal … Continue reading 'A Collection of New Images Reveal X-Rays Across the Universe'

NASA/CXC/SAO , NASA/MSFC/F. Xie et al. ; Optical: NASA/ESA/STScI; Image processing: NASA/CXC/SAO/J. Schmidt, K. Arcand.

When Vela exploded, the core of the dead star collapsed to form a quickly spinning neutron star, which is hidden within the debris field today. It rotates 11.195 times every second, sending out pulses of energy at radio frequencies with highly predictable regularity. The Vela Pulsar is continuously shepherding the surrounding nebula with powerful winds, shaping the wavelike features in the photo, and surrounding a jet of particles and energy that shoots off to the upper right.

Twenty times further away than the Vela Pulsar – but still within our own galaxy – is Kepler’s Supernova Remnant, another exploded star. In this instance, a white dwarf in a binary system feasted on its companion star until reaching an unsustainable mass, causing it to go supernova. The explosion occurred in 1604 and was visible to the naked eye during the daytime for three weeks.

60 million light-years away – well beyond the Milky Way – is NGC 1365, a spiral galaxy not too dissimilar from our own. At its core hides a supermassive black hole surrounded by hot gas, lit up in X-ray light captured by Chandra . The red, green, and blue colors in this image represent the galaxy as seen in infrared light by the James Webb Space Telescope.

 

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