In 1054, observers around the world reported the appearance of a “new star” in the direction of the constellation Taurus. The remnant of that supernova is called the Crab Nebula, and it is powered by a quickly spinning, highly magnetized neutron star called a pulsar. The pulsar was formed when the massive star ran out of its nuclear fuel and collapsed. The combination of rapid rotation and a strong magnetic field in the Crab generates an intense electromagnetic field that creates jets of matter and anti-matter moving away from both the north and south poles of the pulsar and an intense wind flowing out in the equatorial direction.
This composite image of the nebula was created with data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory (blue and white), the Hubble Space Telescope (purple), and the Spitzer Space Telescope (pink).
Image Credit: NASA
NGC 40 is one of a class of objects called planetary nebulas, so-called because they look like the disk of a planet when viewed with a small telescope. This composite X-ray (blue)/optical (red) image of the nebula NGC 40 shows that it is a bubble of hot gas around a dying Sun-like star. In another 30,000 years or so, the nebula will dissipate, leaving behind a smallt, ultradense white dwarf star about the size of Earth.
Image Credit: X-ray—NASA / CXC / RIT / J.Kastner & R.Montez.; Optical—NSF / AURA / NOAO / WIYN
When the Chandra X-ray Observatory took a look at Saturn, the images revealed that the rings sparkle in X-rays, shown here as blue dots superimposed over a visible light image. The likely source for this radiation is fluorescence caused by solar x-rays striking oxygen atoms in water molecules in the icy rings.
Image Credit: NASA
Video Credits: Frank Summers, Joseph DePasquale, Dani Player (STScI) / Kim Arcand (SAO/CXC) / Robert Hurt (Caltech/IPAC)