Wednesday, February 4, 2015
tagged with: sculptured gas clouds, hot young stars, star incubator, star galaxies, outer space picture, sxp1062, supernova remnant, star factory, small magellanic cloud, smc
Galaxies, Stars and Nebulae series In this composite image, X-rays from Chandra and XMM-Newton have been colored blue and optical data from the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile are colored red and green. The flowering shape on the left is a star factory and on the right is the pulsar. Known as SXP 1062, it's the bright white source located on the right-hand side of the image in the middle of the diffuse blue emission inside a red shell. The diffuse X-rays and optical shell are both evidence for a supernova remnant surrounding the pulsar. The optical data also displays spectacular formations of gas and dust in a star-forming region on the left side of the image. A comparison of the Chandra image with optical images shows that the pulsar has a hot, massive companion.
Astronomers are interested in SXP 1062 because the Chandra and XMM-Newton data show that it is rotating unusually slowly - about once every 18 minutes. (In contrast, some pulsars are found to revolve multiple times per second, including most newly born pulsars.) This relatively leisurely pace of SXP 1062 makes it one of the slowest rotating X-ray pulsars in the SMC.
Two different teams of scientists have estimated that the supernova remnant around SXP 1062 is between 10,000 and 40,000 years old, as it appears in the image. This means that the pulsar is very young, from an astronomical perspective, since it was presumably formed in the same explosion that produced the supernova remnant.
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image code: sxp1062
Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ.Potsdam/L.Oskinova et al & ESA/XMM-Newton; Optical: AURA/NOAO/CTIO/Univ.Potsdam/L.Oskinova et al
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