Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Penn State/S.Park et al.; Optical: Pal.Obs. DSS
When a massive star explodes, it creates a shell of hot gas that glows brightly in X-rays. Chandra is able to observe the stellar debris, revealing the dynamics of the explosion.
Located about 20,000 light years away in the constellation of Centaurus, G292.0+1.8 is shown in beautiful detail in this new composite image. In colour is the Chandra X-ray Observatory image - easily the deepest X-ray image ever obtained of this supernova remnant - and in white is optical data from the Digitized Sky Survey.
Although considered a "textbook" case of a supernova remnant, the intricate structure shown here reveals a few surprises.
Near the center of G292.0+1.8 is the so-called pulsar wind nebula, most easily seen in high energy X-rays. This is the magnetized bubble of high-energy particles that surrounds the "pulsar", a rapidly rotating neutron star that remained behind after the original, massive star exploded. The narrow, jet-like feature running from north to south in the image is likely parallel to the spin axis of the pulsar.
[+/-] Click here to expand