A Surprisingly Bright Superbubble (NASA, Chandra, 08/30/12)

    Newer Older

    This composite image shows a superbubble in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a small satellite galaxy of the Milky Way located about 160,000 light years from Earth. Many new stars, some of them very massive, are forming in the star cluster NGC 1929, which is embedded in the nebula N44, so named because it is the 44th nebula in a catalog of such objects in the Magellanic Clouds. The massive stars produce intense radiation, expel matter at high speeds, and race through their evolution to explode as supernovas. The winds and supernova shock waves carve out huge cavities called superbubbles in the surrounding gas. X-rays from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory (blue) show hot regions created by these winds and shocks, while infrared data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope (red) outline where the dust and cooler gas are found. The optical light from the 2.2-m Max-Planck-ESO telescope (yellow) in Chile shows where ultraviolet radiation from hot, young stars is causing gas in the nebula to glow.

    A long-running problem in high-energy astrophysics has been that some superbubbles in the LMC, including N44, give off a lot more X-rays than expected from models of their structure. These models assume that hot, X-ray emitting gas has been produced by winds from massive stars and the remains of several supernovas. A Chandra study published in 2011 showed that there are two extra sources of N44’s X-ray emission not included in these models: supernova shock waves striking the walls of the cavities, and hot material evaporating from the cavity walls. The Chandra observations also show no evidence for an enhancement of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium in the cavities, thus ruling out this possibility as a third explanation for the bright X-ray emission. Only with long observations making full use of the capabilities of Chandra has it now become possible to distinguish between different sources of the X-rays produced by superbubbles.

    The Chandra study of N44 and another superbubble in the LMC was led by Anne Jaskot from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The co-authors were Dave Strickland from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, Sally Oey from University of Michigan, You-Hua Chu from University of Illinois and Guillermo Garcia-Segura from Instituto de Astronomia-UNAM in Ensenada, Mexico.

    NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory controls Chandra's science and flight operations from Cambridge, Mass.

    Read entire caption/view more images: chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2012/n1929/

    Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/U.Mich./S.Oey, IR: NASA/JPL, Optical: ESO/WFI/2.2-m

    Caption credit: Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

    Read more about Chandra:

    p.s. You can see all of our Chandra photos in the Chandra Group in Flickr at: www.flickr.com/groups/chandranasa/ We'd love to have you as a member!

    These official NASA photographs are being made available for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photographs. The photographs may not be used in materials, advertisements, products, or promotions that in any way suggest approval or endorsement by NASA. All Images used must be credited. For information on usage rights please visit: www.nasa.gov/audience/formedia/features/MP_Photo_Guidelin...

    DeveionPhotography, Danilo Fermata, and 157 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. Francesco Littmann - Doc Savage 31 months ago | reply

      Nice image! Is it an X-Ray wavelegnht (in false colors) image?

    2. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center 31 months ago | reply

      Hi Francesco, and thank you for asking. Yes, this is a false-color image, and this is a good link for more of the technical details that make my head spin. :) chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2012/n1929/ (Click on "What Do the Colors Mean" on the top right side.)

    3. etgeek (Eric) 31 months ago | reply

      WOW, Very nice!!!!!

    4. Massimo Todisco 31 months ago | reply

      Wow it's a wonderful image!!!!
      Very interesting the link with all the different rays views and all information about it....i have to study it :)

      Thanks for all information and for sharing all this.


    5. giorgosgrigoriadis16 31 months ago | reply

      magnificent capture !!!!!!

    6. pauline.kehoe 31 months ago | reply

      Its amazing and gorgeous, stunning capture.

    7. Claire351 31 months ago | reply

      Fantastic capture.

    8. Lise au Portugal 31 months ago | reply

      extraordinaire !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    9. Francesco Littmann - Doc Savage 31 months ago | reply

      Thank you for your fast answer!
      I visited the link you give me and I saw interesting images in different wavelength and their merging into the image you shared with us.

    10. lucia bianchi 31 months ago | reply

      wonderful Nat!

    11. Beckaroonie 31 months ago | reply

      Wowzer ~ that's magnificant!

    12. Arts'moonika (Ø) ZZZzzzzz.... 31 months ago | reply

      Magnifique, de toute beauté.

    13. STEHOUWER AND RECIO 31 months ago | reply

      Impressive capture, thanks for sharing!

    keyboard shortcuts: previous photo next photo L view in light box F favorite < scroll film strip left > scroll film strip right ? show all shortcuts