Hand of God Nebula

Hand of God Nebula

The image is a composite made from observations by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), showing the appropriately-named “Hand of God” nebula located 17,000 light-years away. Chandra data is in red and green and the more recent NuSTAR observations are in blue, revealing a high-energy X-ray source near the “wrist” of the hand.

Somewhere within that bright area is the pulsar PSR B1509-58, a super-dense, rapidly spinning neutron star barely 12 miles wide — but blasting huge amounts of high-energy radiation into the 150-light-year-wide cloud of material it blew off nearly 2,000 years ago.

As the pulsar’s emissions interact with the surrounding, expanding material, it glows in X-rays that our orbiting observatories can see.

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