A cosmic hand

If you’ve never visited the Space.com website, then you’ll be amazed at the following photograph:


In this new image from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, high-energy X-rays emanating from the nebula around pulsar PSR B1509-58 have been colored blue to reveal a structure resembling a giant hand reaching for some eternal red cosmic light. This star spins around at the dizzying pace of seven times every second, spewing energy into space. Strong magnetic fields, 15 trillion times stronger than the Earth’s magnetic field, are thought to be involved, too. The combination drives an energetic wind of electrons and ions away from the dying star. As the electrons move through the magnetized nebula, they radiate their energy as X-rays. The red light is actually a neighboring gas cloud, RCW 89, energized into glowing by the fingers of the PSR B1509-58 nebula, astronomers believe.

The scene, which spans a distance of 150 light-years, is about 17,000 light years away; so what we see in the photo is how it looked 17,000 years ago. A light-year, the distance that light travels in a year, is about 6 trillion miles; so that ghostly hand is about 102,000 trillion miles away…amazing…a number bigger than our national debt!

 Link to Space.com


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