Chandra deep image of 3C58
Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO/P.Slane et al.

Pulsing Wind

After massive stars explode they leave behind an extended nebula of exploded star matter, and sometimes a collapsed nugget at the center composed of star stuff squeezed to nuclear densities (a neutron star). A wind blows outward powered by energetic processes near the neutron star. The details of this process are gradually being revealed by high energy observations with the Chandra X-ray Observatory of the Crab pulsar, the Vela pulsar, and now a deep observation of the remnant 3C58, shown above. This image of 3C58 shows (inset) a swirling torus of gas surrounding a neutron star, very similar to structures seen in the Crab nebula and around the Vela pulsar. Farther out the image shows magnetic loops generated by the rapidly spinning pulsar. This image helps astronomers understand the workings of high-energy dynamos around collapsed stars.

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Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Friday, 20-Apr-2012 15:24:07 EDT