NASA’s Chandra Releases Doubleheader of Blockbuster Hits

New movies of two of the most famous objects in the sky — the Crab Nebula and Cassiopeia A — are being released from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory

They show dramatic changes in the debris and radiation remaining after the explosion of two massive stars in our galaxy.

The Crab Nebula, the result of a bright supernova explosion seen by Chinese and other astronomers in the year 1054, is 6,500 light-years from Earth.

As it rotates at about 30 times per second, its beam of radiation passes over the Earth every orbit, like a cosmic lighthouse.

The poles of the pulsar spew X-ray emitting matter and antimatter particles in a direction perpendicular to the ring.

he longer timeframe highlights mesmerizing fluctuations, including whip-like variations in the X-ray jet that are only seen in this much longer movie

A new set of Chandra observations will be conducted later this year to follow changes in the jet since the last Chandra data was obtained in early 2022.

The images used in the latest Cas A movie have been processed using a state-of-the-art processing technique

The paper describing their work was published in The Astrophysical Journal and is available online.

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