Credit: NASA/MIT/B. Gaensler et al.

Anti-Matter Engine

The image above is a Chandra X-ray "color image" of the region surrounding a young, energetic neutron star called B1509-58. This neutron star is associated with a supernova remnant called SN G320.4-1.2, and represents the collapsed core of the star which exploded. The neutron star itself is visible as a bright white source at the center of the image. Surrounding the neutron star are a number of individual X-ray emitting plasmas. A thin jet visible to the lower left of the neutron star, extends for about 20 light years. This jet is thought to trace a beam of particles being shot out from the neutron star's south pole at more than 130 million miles per hour. A small arc of X-ray emission which marks a shock wave produced by particles flowing away from the neutron star's equator can be seen just above the neutron star. Most intriguingly, the neutron star creates high energy particles of both matter and anti-matter, which produce the X-ray emission seen in blue and purple surrounding the neutron star.

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Each week the HEASARC brings you new, exciting and beautiful images from X-ray and Gamma ray astronomy. Check back each week and be sure to check out the HEAPOW archive!

Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified November 11, 2001