Space – When NASA found “the hand of God” combining 14 data and “playing” with X-rays – CVBJ
What happens in the vast universe can be very capricious in its forms, and if not tell it to the always disturbing Helix Nebula or the Eagle Nebula and its well-known “Pillars of Creation”. And we will talk about something similar this time, remembering when a structure dubbed “the hand of God” for the incredible resemblance to said human anatomical structure, at least in the perspective that was hunted.
The snapshot is not really such, since it is an image that actually accumulates years of observations. It is a nebula formed by the gases ejected by an explosion of a star, which could be captured in this striking image thanks to two of the most important NASA X-ray observatories.
Another nebula with an unforgettable (anthropocentrically) shape
When talking about the variety of types of space telescopes with which we scan the sky, one of them were X-ray ones. Perhaps familiar with this radiation due to the property of showing us certain internal structures in a non-invasive way, it is also a key tool for observing clusters, active galactic nuclei, black holes or white dwarfs, among others, since they emit this radiation.
NASA speaks of Chandra as its flagship of X-ray telescopes, and without a doubt there are many contributions, such as that of two supermassive black holes with the WISE (infrared). But he is by no means the only one of this type, nor the only one who helped to achieve the image of “the hand of God.”
The NuSTAR joint nuclear spectroscopic telescope (from Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array) is newer than Chandra, but it doesn’t act as a substitute either. In fact, this curious image is proof of the magic that is achieved by combining his work, specifically combining 14 years of data.
The image is precisely half this year, seven yearsAs explained by NASA, it combines the low-energy X-rays detected by Chandra with the high-energy X-rays detected by NuSTAR. Respectively, they are colored green and red on the one hand and blue on the other.
The star whose death left this fantastic trail was PSR B1509-58, B1509 for friends. A pulsar about 17,000 light-years away discovered in 1982 that NASA described at the time (2014) as “a very fast spinning neutron star that is projecting energy around it to create complex and intriguing structures, including one that looks like a large hand. cosmic “. A turn they calculated in seven times a second, by the way.
The whimsical shape, captured at the precise angle to remind us of a huge hand, is due to the interaction of the particles that the star projects and its interaction with the magnetic fields of the area. These interactions are what cause the emission of X-rays and that with the appropriate instruments the cloud could be seen (and the pulsar, which is not seen in the image, is located near the white point).
The NuSTAR mission was the one that allowed us to differentiate the different structures of this “hand of God” also a posteriori: on the one hand there is what would be the palm, on the other what would be the fingers (the remnant of the supernova) and on the other the red cloud, which corresponds to RCW 89 (a gas cloud). Some particles moving at some 14.5 million kilometers per hour, which is slow compared to the estimate they calculated of 30 million miles per hour, which they consider to be due to the material passing through a low-density gas cavity.
The supernova remnant formed by the explosion, called MSH 15-52, is considered one of the youngest in the Milky Way. Astronomers believe that light from the supernova explosion reached Earth about 1,700 years ago, when the human being had long stepped on the Earth as a species proper and with cultures that watched the sky with attention like that of the Mayan empire, so this structure perhaps already had its mysticism even before seeing it up close.
Images | NASA / JPL-Caltech / McGill, Freepik