SNR G54.1+0.3/Chandra
Credit: F. J. Lu et al., 2002, Astrophysical Journal, 568, L49-L52

SNR G54.1+0.3: a Close Cousin of the Crab

The image above is a false-color X-ray image of supernova remnant G54.1+0.3 taken by the Chandra X-ray Observatory.In this high resolution X-ray image SNR G54.1+0.3 is shown to possess X-ray characteristics which are amazingly similar to those of the Crab Nebula and the Vela supernova remnant. The inset shows a schematic of the structure in the center of the supernova remnant. The bright point-like source at the center represents the putative neutron star (the collapsed core of the progenitor star that exploded); the neutron star powers the remnant through a wind of particles traveling at nearly the speed of light. At the radius where the wind pressure balances the pressure of the ambient material, a terminal shock forms, and the particles begin to emit X-rays. The ring and jet-like eastern and western "elongations" show the location of the terminal shock, and indicate that the wind is concentrated in the equatorial plane and polar directions. Low surface brightness emission in the outer region marks the accumulated pulsar wind material. As in the Crab Nebula, there is no evidence for an outer shell of hot material that would correspond to the shocked interstellar medium. The absence this outer shell is probably due to a low density bubble created by the progenitor star prior to the supernova explosion.

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Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified April 22, 2002