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A Young Pulsar Shows its Hand | by Smithsonian Institution
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A Young Pulsar Shows its Hand

Description: At the center of this Chandra image, a pulsar -- only twelve miles in diameter -- is responsible for this X-ray nebula that spans 150 light years. This pulsar is spinning around almost 7 times a second and has a magnetic field at its surface estimated to be 15 trillion times stronger than the Earth's magnetic field. This combination of rapid rotation and ultra-strong magnetic field drives an energetic wind of electrons and ions, ultimately creating the elaborate nebula seen by Chandra.


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: 2009


Persistent URL:


Repository: Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory


Gift line: NASA/CXC/SAO/P.Slane, et al.


Accession number: PSR B1509-58


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Uploaded on April 8, 2009