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A supernova remnant in the Large Magellanic Cloud, about 160,000 light years from Earth. | by Smithsonian Institution
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A supernova remnant in the Large Magellanic Cloud, about 160,000 light years from Earth.

Description: This is a composite Chandra (X-ray/blue) and Hubble (optical/pink & purple) of N132D. The beautiful glowing horseshoe-shaped cloud of hot gas against a backdrop of thousands of stars was produced by the explosion of a massive star. Shock waves produced by the explosion heated interstellar gas around the site to X-ray emitting temperatures of millions of degrees Celsius. The optical image reveals cooler gas and a small, bright crescent-shaped cloud of emission from hydrogen gas. The star that exploded as a supernova was probably more than 20 times as massive as the Sun. Most of the stars in this image are less massive and will not go out with a bang.


Creator/Photographer: Chandra X-ray Observatory


NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, which was launched and deployed by Space Shuttle Columbia on July 23, 1999, is the most sophisticated X-ray observatory built to date. The mirrors on Chandra are the largest, most precisely shaped and aligned, and smoothest mirrors ever constructed. Chandra is helping scientists better understand the hot, turbulent regions of space and answer fundamental questions about origin, evolution, and destiny of the Universe. The images Chandra makes are twenty-five times sharper than the best previous X-ray telescope. 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 science and flight operations from the Chandra X-ray Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Medium: Chandra telescope x-ray


Date: 2005


Persistent URL:


Repository: Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory


Gift line: X-ray: NASA/SAO/CXC; Optical: NASA


Accession number: n132d

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Taken on September 30, 2008