3D Exploded Star
A team of astronomers from the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), Caltech and Harvard have combined data from three different NASA observatories — the Chandra X-ray Observatory as well as the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes — to create a 3-D visualization of the Crab Nebula, the remains of a star that exploded in a supernova thousands of light years away.
The team is hoping their visualization could help scientists understand the structures of similar celestial objects found elsewhere in the known universe — plus it just looks amazing.
The scientists put together a video showcasing the complex interior structures of the Crab Nebula, combining data collected by NASA’s observatories at different wavelengths, including X-ray, infrared, and visible light.
Russian Doll Nebula
The video shows the pulsar, a highly energetic neutron star, at the core of the Crab Nebula, along with its disk of energized material. Surrounding it is a massive cloud of charged particles, best seen in infrared light, which itself is enveloped in clouds of oxygen and sulphur gas.
“Seeing two-dimensional images of an object, especially of a complex structure like the Crab Nebula, doesn’t give you a good idea of its three-dimensional nature,” STScI visualization scientist Frank Summer, team lead, said in a statement.
“With this scientific interpretation, we want to help people understand the Crab Nebula’s nested and interconnected geometry,” Summer added. “The interplay of the multiwavelength observations illuminate all of these structures.”
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