Throwing down the Cosmic Gauntlet

Chandra, the X-ray telescope, took this rather sinister image recently. It seems to show the hand of some cosmic entity grasping a little piece of Hell, perhaps the trade off astronomers need do to avoid clouds some days…

Gauntlet grasps

Gauntlet grasps

Disco Dave describes the picture as “creepy” in his blog entry. In Tom’s Astronomy blog, the same image is show along with its optical counterpart. The actual image is of a nebula surrounding a small pulsar – a stellar remnant, a neutron star – the crushed core of a massive star, spinning and channelling electrons along its magnetic field. Pulsars produce regular radio wave pulses as their polar regions point to us and blast emissions from accelerated electrons in our direction. Radio signals tell us where they are, space telescopes point and check them out in other wavelengths to see what they do. The pulsar doing all this is estimated at a diameter of 12 miles, with the nebula 150 light years across. The entire system is 17,000 light years from us and estimated to be 1,700 years old. The pulsar is called PSR B1509-58, but is known to its friends as B1509.

So, to follow the Eye of God nebula, we now have the Hand of God nebula…


One response to “Throwing down the Cosmic Gauntlet

  1. Pingback: NASA photos show giant cosmic hand | the rabbit hole

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