The image of G21.5-0.9, a supernova remnant which is 16,000 light years from Earth, shows a bright central source (the neutron star) with bright nebula and surrounded by a much larger diffuse cloud. The fluffy appearance of the central nebula is thought to be due to magnetic field lines which constrain the motions of the high energy electrons. "It's a remarkable image," said Patrick Slane of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. "Neither the inner core nor the outer shell has ever been seen before."

PSR 0540-69

Chandra has also imaged PSR 0540-69, a pulsar some 180,000 light years away that rotates some 50 times per second, emitting pulses of radio waves, optical radiation and X-rays as it rotates. "The Chandra image gives us a much better idea of how this energy source works," said Stephen Murray, principal investigator for the High Resolution X-ray Camera on Chandra. "You can see X-ray jets blasting out from the pulsar in both directions."


The third image is of E0102-72, which exploded several thousand years ago. Its nebula is now over 40 light years and resembles a "flaming cosmic wheel" according to Fred Seward, one of its discoverers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.