8 Beautiful New Astrophotographs from NASA

As part of American Archive Month, NASA has released eight images taken by the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. These images have never been shown to the public before so I hope you do (as I did), enjoy!

1. G266.2-1.2 - Supernova Remnant
A haunting object produced by a supernova in our Milky Way, the purple is the shockwave of high energy particles expanding into interstellar space. The image is a combination of x-ray wavelengths imaged by Chandra (purple) and optical wavelengths from the Digitized Sky Survey (red, green, blue).

2. 3C353 - Supermassive Black Hole Jets
Interactions near a supermassive black hole can throw out huge amounts of energy and mass out from their poles. The galaxy harbouring this giant can be seen as the singular purple spot in the middle with the two lobes of radiation extending out  to either side. The x-ray wavelengths in purple are from Chandra and orange from the radio data from the Very Large Array.

3. NGC 3576 – Nebula
This beautiful nebula can be found 9,000 light years away in the Sagittarius arm of our own Milky Way. Nebulas like this one are home to much drama, from the evolution of massive stars, to their birth in dark clouds of gas and dust and their eventual destructive death. The x-ray data in blue is from Chandra and optical in orange and yellow from ESO.

4. NGC 4945 – Galaxy
NGC 4945 is very similar appearance to our own galaxy but observations suggest that it harbours a highly active supermassive black hole. Seen edge on from a distance of 13 million light years, the x-ray data from Chandra has been overlayed upon the optical image from the ESO.

5. IC 1396A – Elephant Trunk Nebula
A relatively well known nebula, the Elephant Trunk Nebula has graced many-a-astrophoto and is a prime example of how when radiation and stellar winds impact clouds of gas and dust they can cause new generations of stars to form. The x-ray data in purple is from Chandra and has been combined with optical data to give a more complete picture.

6. 3C 397 (G41.1-03) – Galactic Supernova Remnant
Researchers posit that the unusual shape of this remnant is due to the interaction of matter thrown off by the supernova with the cooler gas surrounding it. This image is a compositeof x-ray data from Chandra in purple, infrared emissions from Spitzer (yellow) and optical wavelengths from the Digitized Sky Survey (red, green, blue).

7. SNR B0049-73.6 – Supernova
This beautiful example of a supernova can be found in one of our neighbouring galaxies, the Small Magellanic Cloud. In the case of this star, observations suggest that the explosion was due to the collapse of the core of the central star. This image is a composite of purple from Chandra’s x-ray data, and infrared data from the 2MASS survey (red, green, blue).

8. NGC 6946 – Galaxy
Located around 22 million light years from Earth, this beautiful galaxy is also known by the name, the Fireworks Galaxy which is due it having the three oldest supernovas ever detected in the x-ray part of the spectrum. The image is composite of optical data from the Gemini Observatory (red, yellow, cyan) and x-ray data from Chandra (purple.

All credit to NASA/CSC/SAO

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