NASA has released a “Treasure Trove of Cosmic Delights” and they are all astronomical pieces of eye candy. Each one of the images is made up of light collected by the Chandra X-ray Observatory, as well as other telescopes. Amongst the visual treats are everything from a cluster of galaxies to a binary star system 5 million times brighter than the Sun.
Science and Nature picked up on NASA’s new trove of images, which the agency recently released. In an announcement, NASA said these images are “multiwavelength” composite images—made up of electromagnetic waves spanning from radio waves to gamma rays—and are crucial for developing a better understanding of cosmological objects. Below is a selection of five of the images:
The Cartwheel Galaxy
The Cartwheel Galaxy is special in that it once had a smaller, lenticular galaxy moving through it. As the smaller galaxy moved through the larger one, it produced star-forming shock waves. X-rays from Chandra (purple) show the gases made hot by the shock waves.
Eta Carinae is a volatile binary star system. Combined, its two stars are five million times as luminous as the Sun. This image combines three types of light: optical, appearing as white; ultraviolet, appearing as cyan; and X-ray, appearing as purple.
The Helix Nebula
The Helix Nebula consists of an expanding, glowing shell of ionized gas ejected from a red giant star. This image contains infrared light (green and red), optical light (orange and blue), and X-rays (white).
Supernova 1987A was a type II supernova (i.e. a luminous and powerful stellar explosion) in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Chandra’s X-ray images (blue), show where the supernova’s shockwave ran into surrounding material.
M82, or Messier 82 is a galaxy we observe edge-on. This viewpoint allows astronomers to observe bursts of star formation in unique ways. In this image, X-rays reveal gas outflows (blue and pink) that are 20,000-light-years long and above ten million degrees Fahrenheit thanks to supernova explosions.
What do you think about NASA’s new treasure trove of “cosmic delights”? Do you have a favorite, or is it impossible to pick? Let’s gush about the beauty of space in the comments!
Feature image: NASA/CXC/SAO, et al.