NASA’s Chandra X-ray observatory has produced a spectacular image of the spiral galaxy M83:
The primary target of the image wasn’t the galaxy itself but a supernova remnant within – the remains of SN 1957D
This supernova remnant had previously been detected in both visible and the infra-red though had previously eluded detection in x-rays (Chandra’s first attempt to capture the object in 2000-2001 met with disappointment). This image is the end result of nearly eight and a half days of data collection using Chandra, a truly marathon effort (the observation was completed in stages during 2010 and 2011 rather than in one massive event).
The image show a wide range of X-rays, with low energy rays displayed in red, medium energy in green and those with the highest energies displayed here in blues.
The Chandra team has also produced an annotated version of the image showing the location of the remnant and you can see this below:
The type of X-ray emission detected from the remnant strongly suggests that it contains a rapidly spinning neutron star – a pulsar. This potentially makes it the youngest pulsar ever observed, positively confirmed as one just 55 years after it was formed (discounting the time it has taken the light to reach us here on Earth). It is potentially the youngest ever observed as there is another contender – SN 1979C – though as of yet astronomers aren’t quite sure if it is indeed a pulsar or a black hole.
M83 itself sits about 15 million light years from us in the direction of the constellation Hydra. It is one of the brightest galaxies visible from Earth and can be observed through binoculars.
You can read more here
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