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Recent Podcast
A Tour of GK Persei
A Tour of GK Persei
In space, explosions of actual stars are a focus for scientists who hope to better understand the lifecycle of their births, lives, and deaths. (2015-03-20)

PSR B1509-58 in 60 Seconds

Narrator (Megan Watzke, CXC): A small dense object is responsible for the remarkably complex and intriguing structures seen in this image from the Chandra X-ray Observatory. At the center of this image is a very young and powerful pulsar, known as PSR B1509-58. Pulsars are rapidly spinning neutron stars that are created when massive stars run out of fuel and collapse. This pulsar is spewing energy out into space and creates this beautiful X-ray nebula, including a structure that resembles a hand. Finger-like structures extend to the upper right, apparently transferring energy into knots of material in a neighboring cloud of gas and dust that is seen in other wavelengths. This makes these knots glow brightly in X-rays, which is why they appear red and orange in this Chandra image. Astronomers think that this pulsar is about 1700 years old and lies about 17,000 light years from Earth.

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