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X-ray Chandra image - Code: Energy
(Credit: NASA/CXC/MIT/B.Gaensler et al.)

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(3 Apr 09)
(10 Jan 01)
B1509-58 in SNR G320.4-1.2:
Chandra Examines A Quadrillion-volt Pulsar

B1509-58 in SNR G320.4-1.2
Credit: NASA/MIT/B.Gaensler et al.

This Chandra image gave astronomers their first view of the energetic and complex nebula surrounding the young pulsar PSR B1509-58. The blue and purple colors indicate X-rays emitted by high-energy particles of matter and anti-matter which stream away from the pulsar. The pulsar itself is the bright white source at the center of the nebula.

A thin jet, almost 20 light years in length, extends to the lower left, and traces a beam of particles being shot out from the pulsar's south pole at more than 130 million miles per hour. Just above the pulsar can be seen a small arc of X-ray emission, which marks a shock wave produced by particles flowing away from the pulsar's equator.

The green cloud near the top of the image is due to multimillion degree Celsius gas. This gas, possibly a remnant of the supernova explosion associated with the creation of the pulsar, may have been heated by collisions with high-energy particles produced by the pulsar.

Fast Facts for B1509-58 in SNR G320.4-1.2:
Credit  NASA/MIT/B.Gaensler et al.
Scale  Image is 10 x 14 arcmin across.
Category  Supernovas & Supernova Remnants, Neutron Stars/X-ray Binaries
Coordinates (J2000)  RA 15h 13m 55.60s | Dec -59° 08´ 09.20"
Constellation  Circinus
Observation Dates  August 14, 2000
Observation Time  5 hours
Obs. IDs  754
Color Code  Intensity
Instrument  ACIS
Distance Estimate  19,000 light years
Release Date  September 06, 2001