N63a X-ray, radio, optical composite
Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Rutgers/J.Warren et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI/U. Ill/Y.Chu; Radio: ATCA/U. Ill/J.Dickel et al.


The beautiful colored ball of glowing gas pictured above is the remains of a cosmic catastrophe, the explosion of a star in the Large Magellanic Cloud, one of the Milky Way's companion galaxies. The image above is a composite of X-ray (blue), radio (red) and optical (green) images. The X-ray emission (imaged by the Chandra X-ray Observatory) is produced as the blast wave from the explosion plows into the material in the LMC. The radio emission (imaged by the Australia Telescope Compact Array) arises from cooler gas at the edge of the remnant and in a dense region to the upper right of the center of the remnant. The optical emission (imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope) also arises in this region. The death of this one star may trigger the formation of new stars, so the cycle of stellar death and birth continues.

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Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Friday, 20-Apr-2012 15:24:07 EDT