If you’ve ever wished you had x-ray vision, NASA has some pictures for you.
NASA has released four composite images using data from several of its most advanced telescopes to depict our universe in different wavelengths of light, including data collected by the Chandra X-ray ObservatoryTHE James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and the The Hubble Space Telescope.
THE pictureswhich show two galaxiesa cluster of stars and a nebulaare rendered in dazzling colors representing X-rays and infrared radiation, as well as optical light.
Related: James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) — A Complete Guide
The two galaxies shown are called NGC 1672 and M74. Classified as a barred spiral galaxy for its straight, “barred” star arms near its center, NGC 1672 is a galaxy located about 60 million light-years from Earth. The new composite image shows several areas, particularly in its outer arms, emitting intense X-ray radiation, shown in purple. According to NASA, these areas represent super dense objects, such as neutron stars and black holes, which pull matter into the galaxy.
M74 is a spiral galaxy like our own galactic home the Milky Way, located about 32 million light years from us. Also called the Ghost Galaxy because it is visibly very dark, the galaxy has an intricate lacy structure revealed by JWST. Now, Chandra’s data notes several sources of X-ray radiation, including young stars, dotting the spiral.
Another image shows M16, also called the Eagle Nebula, located about 6,500 light-years away. The image shows the famous “Pillars of creation“, dramatic clouds of dust and gas containing young stars, the most intense of which are highlighted in brilliant pinks and purples to show the powerful X-rays they emit. The image highlights the discovery that most of these young, X-ray-emitting stars are actually outside the pillars, with only a few young stars emitting this intense radiation from inside the clouds.
The image with Chandra’s most notable contribution might be that of NGC 346, a star cluster in the Small Magellanic Cloud, a galaxy located 200,000 light-years from Earth. A bright purple spot on the left side of the image highlights the remains of a supernova explosion, the spectacular death of a huge star.
Learn more: This new supernova is the closest to Earth in a decade. It is visible in the night sky at this time.
Cluster NGC 346 is also dotted with white-purple patches of X-rays emitted by young massive stars. This image is unique among the four because it contains data not only from Chandra, Webb, and Hubble, but also from the European Southern Observatory’s New Technology Telescope, the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton Telescope, and NASA. retired. Spitzer Space Telescope.
You can find all the photos, including the photos combined to make the composite images and the 3D printable touch boards of each image, on the Chandra X-Ray Observatory website.