Thursday, September 14, 2023

A Fab Five: New Images | NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory

A Fab Five: New Images | NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory

A new collection of images features data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. These objects have been observed in invisible light—including X-rays, infrared, and radio—by some of the most powerful telescopes. Each layer represents data that has been assigned colors that the human eye can perceive, allowing us to explore these cosmic entities.

The objects in this quintet of images range both in distance and category. Vela and Kepler are the mesmerizing remains of exploded stars within our own Milky Way galaxy, the center of which can be seen in the top panorama. In NGC 1365, we see a double-barred spiral galaxy located about 60 million light-years from Earth. Farther away and on an even larger scale, ESO 137-001 shows what happens when a galaxy hurtles through space and leaves a wake behind it.

Let’s take a closer look at each one.

The Galactic Center is about 26,000 light-years years from Earth, but telescopes like NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory allow us to visit virtually. The center of the Milky Way contains a supermassive black hole, superheated clouds of gas, massive stars, neutron stars, and much more.

By combining data from NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (or “ix-pee” as it’s known for short), Chandra, and NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, researchers are probing Vela, the aftermath of a star that collapsed and exploded and now sends a remarkable storm of particles and energy into space. IXPE shows the average orientation of the X-rays with respect to the jet in this image.

The center of the spiral galaxy NGC 1365 contains a supermassive black hole being fed by a steady stream of material. Some of the hot gas revealed in the X-ray image from Chandra will eventually be pulled into the black hole. The Chandra image has been combined with infrared data from Webb.

The Kepler supernova remnant is the remains of a white dwarf that exploded after undergoing a thermonuclear explosion. Chandra shows a powerful blast wave that ripped through space after the detonation, while infrared data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and optical light from Hubble show the debris of the destroyed star.

As the galaxy moves through space at 1.5 million miles per hour, it leaves not one—but two—tails behind it. These tails trailing after ESO 137-001 are made of superheated gas that Chandra detects in X-rays. The European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope shows light from hydrogen atoms, which have been added to the image along with optical and infrared data from Hubble.

Credit: Chandra X-ray Observatory

Duration: 3 minutes, 33 seconds

Release Date: Sept. 13, 2023

#NASA #Space #Astronomy #Science #Stars #Vela #Kepler #SupernovaRemnants #Galaxies #ESO137001 #NGC1365 #MilkyWayGalaxy #GalacticCenter #NASAChandra #IXPE #SpaceTelescopes #XrayObservatories #JWST #HST #MSFC #UnitedStates #ESO #Europe #STEM #Education #HD #Video

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