Picture of the Day: A Pulsar and Its Bright, Blue, Mysterious Tail

More

0825Pic.jpg

This composite image, made with data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory (in blue) and data from the Digitized Sky Survey (in yellow), shows the pulsar known officially as PSR J0357+3205, or PSR J0357 for short. Astronomers recently discovered that the pulsar's spinning neutron center, which is at the upper-right quadrant of the image, has a long, bright X-ray tail. (The spherical blue object in the lower-left quadrant is believed to be unrelated, a background object outside of our galaxy, according to NASA. Same with the smaller blue streak just beneath it.)

"PSR J0357 was originally discovered by the Fermi Gamma Ray Space Telescope in 2009," according to NASA. "Astronomers calculate that the pulsar lies about 1,600 light years from Earth and is about half a million years old, which makes it roughly middle-aged for this type of objects."

View more Pictures of the Day.

Image: NASA.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

A Fascinating Short Film About the Multiverse

If life is a series of infinite possibilities, what does it mean to be alive?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down

More in Technology

Just In