Images by Date
Images by Category
Solar System
White Dwarfs
Neutron Stars
Black Holes
Milky Way Galaxy
Normal Galaxies
Galaxy Clusters
Cosmology/Deep Field
Images by Interest
Space Scoop for Kids
Sky Map
3D Wall
Photo Blog
Top Rated Images
Image Handouts
High Res Prints
Fits Files
Image Tutorials
Photo Album Tutorial
False Color
Cosmic Distance
Look-Back Time
Scale & Distance
Angular Measurement
Images & Processing
Getting Hard Copies
Image Use Policy
Web Shortcuts
Chandra Blog
RSS Feed
Email Newsletter
News & Noteworthy
Image Use Policy
Questions & Answers
Glossary of Terms
Download Guide
Get Adobe Reader
More Information
Supernovas & Supernova Remnants
Neutron Stars/X-ray Binaries
X-ray Astronomy Field Guide: Neutron Stars/X-ray Binaries
Questions and Answers: Neutron Stars/X-ray Binaries
Chandra Images: Neutron Stars/X-ray Binaries
Related Podcasts
Tour of RCW 103
Tour of RCW 103 (2016-09-12)
Download Image

More Information

More Images
SNR G54.1+0.3
Radio Image
(Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF/C. Lang et al.)

More Releases
(29 Mar 10)

Related Images
Crab Nebula
Crab Nebula
(28 Sep 99)
Vela Pulsar
Vela Pulsar
(06 Jun 00)
(06 Sep 01)
Energetic Ring Marks Spot That Leads to Discovery of Neutron Star

Credit: NASA/CXC/U.Mass/F.Lu et al.

The Chandra image of the distant supernova remnant SNR G54.1+0.3 reveals a bright ring of high-energy particles with a central point-like source. This observation enabled scientists to use the giant Arecibo Radio Telescope to search for and locate the pulsar, or neutron star that powers the ring. The ring of particles and two jet-like structures appear to be due to the energetic flow of radiation and particles from the rapidly spinning neutron star rotating 7 times per second.

During the supernova event, the core of a massive star collapsed to form a neutron star that is highly magnetized and creates an enormous electric field as it rotates. The electric field accelerates particles near the neutron star and produces jets blasting away from the poles, and as a disk of matter and anti-matter flowing away from the equator at high speeds. As the equatorial flow rams into the particles and magnetic fields in the nebula, a shock wave forms. The shock wave boosts the particles to extremely high energies causing them to glow in X-rays and produce the bright ring (see inset).

The particles stream outward from the ring and the jets to supply the extended nebula, which spans approximately 6 light years.

The features observed in SNR G54.1+0.3 are very similar to other "pulsar wind nebulas" found by Chandra in the Crab Nebula, the Vela supernova remnant, and PSR B1509-58. By analyzing the similarities and differences between these objects, scientists hope to better understand the fascinating process of transforming the rotational energy of the neutron star into high-energy particles with very little frictional heat loss.

Fast Facts for G54.1+0.3:
Credit  NASA/CXC/U.Mass/F.Lu et al.
Scale  Image is 2.7 x 2 arcmin
Category  Supernovas & Supernova Remnants, Neutron Stars/X-ray Binaries
Coordinates (J2000)  RA 19h 30m 30s | Dec +18 52' 14
Constellation  Sagitta
Observation Dates  June 6-7, 2001
Observation Time  9 hours
Obs. IDs  1983
Color Code  Intensity
Instrument  ACIS
References F. Lu et al. 2002, Astrophysical Journal, 568, L49-L52 F. Camilo et al. 2002, Astrophysical Journal Letters, 574 (in press)
Distance Estimate  20,000 light years
Release Date  June 25, 2002