The aftershock of a stellar explosion rippling through space is captured in this new view of supernova remnant W44, which combines far-infrared and X-ray data from ESA's Herschel and XMM-Newton space observatories.
W44, located around 10 000 light-years away within a forest of dense star-forming clouds in the constellation of Aquila, the Eagle, is one of the best examples of a supernova remnant interacting with its parent molecular cloud.
The product of a massive star that has already reached the end of its life and expelled its outer layers in a dramatic explosion, all that remains of the stellar behemoth is the spinning core of a neutron star, or pulsar.
Identified as PSR B1853+01, the pulsar is the bright point to the top left in W44, coloured light blue in this image.
It is thought to be around 20 000 years old and as it rapidly rotates it sweeps out a wind of highly energetic particles and beams of light ranging from radio to X-ray energies.
The centre of the supernova remnant is also bright in X-rays, coming from the hot gas that fills the shell, at temperatures of several million degrees. Dense knots of high-energy emission reflect regions where heavier elements are more commonly found.
At the cooler edge of the cavity, gas is swept up as the supernova remnant propagates through space.
At the top right of the expanding shell, there is a smaller cavity, with the shock from the supernova remnant impacting the bight arc-shaped feature. This region is filled with hot gas that has been ionised by the intense ultraviolet radiation from embedded young massive stars.
Herschel's far-infrared eyes can also seek out regions of gently heated gas and dust further from W44, where new stars are congregating.
Examples include the arrowhead-shaped star-formation region to the right of W44, which appears to point to another trio of intricate clouds further to the right and above.
More broadly, a number of compact objects scattered across the scene map the cold seeds of future stars that will eventually emerge from their dusty cocoons.
Finally, diffuse purple emission towards the bottom left of the image provides a glimpse of the Galactic plane.
European Space Agency: http://www.esa.int
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
NASA hopes Dawn mission can answer the big question: could life lurk in icy volcanoes on Ceres, the asteroid belt's biggest resident?
One twin will spend the year in space, the other on the ground. Monitoring their health could let us tease apart the effects of space flight from genetics
The Sierra Negra volcano in the central Mexican state of Puebla is the site of an ambitious astrophysical project which houses the largest gamma ray observatory ever built on the planet.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla (Reuters) - An unmanned Delta 4 rocket blasted off from Florida on Wednesday to deliver the ninth of 12 next-generation Global Positioning System satellites into orbit.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla (Reuters) - A NASA robot ship will pluck a large boulder off an asteroid and sling it around the moon, becoming an ad hoc destination to prepare for future human missions to Mars, the U.S. space agency said on Wednesday.
Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko will spend a year together on the International Space Station and conduct research into the feasibility of a manned Mars mission
Jupiter may have ploughed through the early solar system, driving some of the first planets to a fiery death in the sun – and cleared room for planets like Earth
How did the Vikings find their way over the sea? Medieval artefacts are giving us important clues as to how they might have done it
New data clears up a case of mistaken stellar identity stretching back to the year 1670
But it wasn't exactly a fast race