Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust
A new image from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and Spitzer Space Telescope shows the dusty remains of a collapsed star. The dust is flying past and engulfing a nearby family of stars. Scientists think the stars in the image are part of a stellar cluster in which the a supernova exploded. The material ejected in the explosion is now blowing past these stars at high velocities.
The composite image of G54.1+0.3 shows X-rays from Chandra in blue, and data from Spitzer in green (shorter wavelength infrared) and red-yellow (longer wavelength infrared). The white source near the center of the image is a dense, rapidly rotating neutron star, or "pulsar," left behind after a core-collapse supernova explosion. The pulsar generates a wind of high-energy particles -- seen in the Chandra data -- that expands into the surrounding environment, illuminating the material ejected in the supernova explosion.
-K. Arcand, CXC
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