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Dusty Dead Star
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Dusty Dead Star

March 30, 2010
A composite image from NASA's Chandra (blue) and Spitzer (green and red-yellow) space telescopes shows the dusty remains of a collapsed star, a supernova remnant called G54.1+0.3. The white source at the center is a dead star called a pulsar, generating a wind of high-energy particles seen by Chandra in blue. The wind expands into the surrounding environment. The infrared shell that surrounds the pulsar wind, seen in red, is made up of gas and dust that condensed out of debris from the supernova explosion. A nearby cluster of stars is being engulfed by the dust.

The nature and quantity of dust produced in supernova explosions is a long-standing mystery, and G54.1+0.3 supplies an important piece to the puzzle.


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