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  The coolest pulsar image I've ever seenDec 29, 2011 9:41 AM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Just before Christmas, NASA rather nonchalantly posted what is far and away the coolest image of a pulsar that I've ever seen. A pulsar is a spinning neutron star--what's left behind by the supernova explosion of a star that wasn't massive enough to collapse into a black hole. It's also this:
 
Image
image by NASA/CXC/Univ. of Potsdam/L. Oskinova et al. (source)
 
Here's the juicy middle section of NASA's article on the photo:
 
In this composite image, X-rays from Chandra and XMM-Newton have been colored blue and optical data from the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile are colored red and green. The pulsar, known as SXP 1062, is the bright white source located on the right-hand side of the image in the middle of the diffuse blue emission inside a red shell. The diffuse X-rays and optical shell are both evidence of a supernova remnant surrounding the pulsar. The optical data also displays spectacular formations of gas and dust in a star-forming region on the left side of the image.
 
SXP 1062 interests astronomers because the Chandra and XMM-Newton data show that it is rotating unusually slowly -- about once every 18 minutes. (In contrast, some pulsars are found to revolve multiple times per second, including most newly born pulsars.) This relatively leisurely pace of SXP 1062 makes it one of the slowest rotating X-ray pulsars in the SMC.
 
Scientists have estimated that the supernova remnant around SXP 1062 is between 10,000 and 40,000 years old, as it appears in the image. This means that the pulsar is very young [...]
 
 
 
 
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