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N132D and the Color of X-Rays
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N132D and the Color of X-Rays

May 26, 2004
Supernova remnant N132D shows off complex structures in this sharp, color x-ray image. Still, overall this cosmic debris from a massive star's explosive death has a strikingly simple horseshoe shape. While N132D lies 180,000 light-years distant in the Large Magellanic Cloud, the expanding remnant appears here about 80 light-years across. Light from the supernova blast which created it would have reached planet Earth about 3,000 years ago. Observed by the orbiting Chandra Observatory, N132D still glows in x-rays, its shocked gas heated to millions of degrees Celsius. Low energy x-rays are shown as red, medium energy as green, and high energy as blue colors. These color choices make a pleasing picture and they also show the x-rays in the same energy order as visible light photons, which range from low to high energies as red, green, and blue.


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