The Magellanic Clouds in UV


During my early days working at Goddard Space Flight Center, I designed one of the subsystems in the instrument that normally serves as the viewfinder on the Swift satellite, the Burst Alert Telescope. There are two other instrument aboard, an X-ray Telescope and a UV Optical Telescope. The Swift mission team has used the UVOT to create detailed images of the two galaxies nearest the Milky Way, the Large and Smaller Magellanic Clouds.

The Crab Nebula in UV


Crab_nebula_uv_SwiftAbout 7,500 years ago, a star went supernova. The Crab Nebula is the wreckage of that supernova whose explosion was seen on Earth in the year AD 1054. The expanding cloud of gas is located 6,500 light-years away in the constellation Taurus. This false color composite of three ultraviolet images taken by the UV Optical Telescope carried on the Swift satellite highlights the hot gas in the supernova remnant. The image is constructed from exposures using these filters centered at 260 nm (red), at 225 nM (green), and centered at 193 nm (blue). (Click the image to embiggen it.)

Image Credit: NASA