This spectacularly strange region is none other than the Vela Pulsar, which is, of course, associated with the equally spectacular Vela supernova remnant (this large, spherical region lurks about 800 light-years from Earth in the constellation of the same name).
The pulsar itself, like all pulsars, is a strange beast. Despite spanning only 12 miles across, it's incredibly powerful. So powerful, in fact, that over the course of one second, it completes more than 11 rotations, spewing out charged particles that travel at nearly 70% of the speed of light (see below). Overall, this jet extends about a light-year across (0.7 light-years, to be exact).
All cliches aside, this particular view of the Pulsar is unlike any you've ever seen before, as the raw Chandra data has been reprocessed through an open source program, with the work carried out by Judy Schmidt. The goal was to combine the Chandra data-set with those belonging to Hubble and other ground-based observatories.
Judy talks about some of the difficulties she faced when combining all the data used to piece together this composite:
See more of her work here, or for another example, see N49.
Share This Article