A young star cluster 6000 light years from Earth in the constellation Vela.

  • Creator: Smithsonian Institution
  • Year: 2008

Description: This Chandra image covers a region about 5 light years across and shows many young stars with hot upper atmospheres. In addition to the point-like emission from the stars, the image revealed a diffuse cloud enveloping the star cluster. The X-ray spectrum of the cloud shows an excess of high-energy X-rays. This excess indicates that these X-rays come from trillion-volt electrons moving in a magnetic field. The presence of these extremely energetic particles could dramatically change the chemistry of the disks that will eventually form planets around stars in the cluster. Evidence in the form of short-lived radioactive nuclei found in meteorites suggests that our solar system was immersed for a time in a sea of energetic particles.

Creator/Photographer: Chandra X-ray Observatory

NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, which was launched and deployed by Space Shuttle Columbia on July 23, 1999, is the most sophisticated X-ray observatory built to date. The mirrors on Chandra are the largest, most precisely shaped and aligned, and smoothest mirrors ever constructed. Chandra is helping scientists better understand the hot, turbulent regions of space and answer fundamental questions about origin, evolution, and destiny of the Universe. The images Chandra makes are twenty-five times sharper than the best previous X-ray telescope. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory controls Chandra science and flight operations from the Chandra X-ray Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Medium: Chandra telescope x-ray

Date: 2002

Persistent URL: chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2002/rcw38/

Repository: Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

Gift line: NASA/CXC/CfA/S.Wolk et al.

Accession number: rcw38_xray

Source: Flickr

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