Since their first discovery in the 1960s, over 2,000 pulsars, rapidly spinning, dense stellar cores, have been found. Data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has confirmed the youngest known pulsar in our Milky Way galaxy. This pulsar, known as Kes 75, is located about 19,000 light years from Earth. Scientists have uncovered interesting properties of Kes 75 that could help them better understand how some stars end their lives.
Electrons (blue) and positrons (red) from a computer-simulated pulsar. These particles become accerlated to extreme energies in a pulsar's powerful magnetic and electric fields; lighter tracks show particles with higher energies. Each particle seen here actually represents trillions of electrons or positrons. Better knowledge of the particle environment around neutron stars will help astronomers understand how they behave like cosmic lighthouses, producing precisely timed radio and gamma-ray pulses. Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.
A new Chandra image shows the location of several elements produced by the explosion of a massive star. Cassiopeia A is a well-known supernova remnant located about 11,000 light years from Earth. Supernova remnants and the elements they produce are very hot — millions of degrees — and glow strongly in X-ray light. Chandra's sharp X-ray vision allows scientists to determine both the amount and location of these crucial elements objects like Cas A produce.
This Hubble image gives the most detailed view of the entire Crab Nebula ever. The Crab is among the most interesting and well studied objects in astronomy. This image is the largest image ever taken with Hubble's WFPC2 camera. It was assembled from 24 individual exposures taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and is the highest resolution image of the entire Crab Nebula ever made. Credit: NASA, ESA and Allison Loll/Jeff Hester (Arizona State University). Acknowledgement: Davide De Martin (ESA/Hubble).