Nasa’s X-ray telescopes, Chandra and IXPE, have captured images of ‘bones’ of a cosmic ‘hand’ that died 1,500 years ago. The pictures shared by the space agency show a gigantic ‘hand’ with four ‘fingers’ dancing around the Milky Way in purple plumes.
According to Nasa, when stars exhaust their nuclear fuel to burn and collapse onto themselves, they form extremely dense objects called neutron stars. These stars, often endowed with potent magnetic fields, evolve into pulsars. “Young pulsars can create jets of matter and antimatter moving away from the poles of the pulsar, along with an intense wind, forming a ‘pulsar wind nebula’,” as per the space agency. can explain in a line what is a pulsar
The pulsar PSR B1509-58 was first observed by Nasa’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. The telescope found that it resembles a human hand and is actually a pulsar wind nebula (referred to as MSH 15-52). The pulsar is located at the base of the ‘palm’ of the nebula and is located 16,000 light-years from Earth.
The space agency even released a video of the cosmic ‘hand’ on social media. “Quick look: X-ray telescopes reveal the ‘bones’ of a ghostly cosmic hand,” reads the title of the video shared on YouTube channel Chandra X-ray Observatory.
In the description of the video, the observatory mentioned, “A cosmic ‘hand’ has been X-rayed in a new image from NASA. NASA’s Chandra and IXPE telescopes joined forces to capture this remarkable image. MSH 15-52 is a cloud of energetic particles that resembles a human hand. Astronomers use these X-ray data to learn more about how objects like this form.”
Watch the video shared on YouTube here:
Roger Romani of Stanford University in California, who led the study, shared, “The charged particles producing the X-rays travel along the magnetic field, determining the basic shape of the nebula, like the bones do in a person’s hand.”
“We’re all familiar with X-rays as a diagnostic medical tool for humans. Here we’re using X-rays in a different way, but they are again revealing information that is otherwise hidden from us.