N132D color image

A Brightly-Colored Tombstone

Here lies the remains of a massive star. This colorful tombstone, which glows brightly in the above X-ray color image obtained by the Chandra observatory, is the supernova remnant known as N132D. This remnant was produced by the explosion of a massive star in the Large Magellanic Cloud, the Milky Way's neighbor galaxy. Chandra shows the X-rays produced by the shock wave from the explosion. This X-ray color image shows low-energy X-rays as red and higher energy X-rays as blue; the color differences are either produced by differences in temperature (cooler material produces redder X-rays) or differences in absorption (more absorption produces bluer X-rays). The distinctive "tombstone" shape is thought to be produced by differences in the density of the interstellar material in the LMC.

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Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified July 2, 2001