Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2000 February 11
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XMM-Newton First Light: X-Rays From The LMC
Credit: XMM Project, ESA

Explanation: Recently the European Space Agency released this and other spectacular "first light" pictures from its new orbiting x-ray observatory, christened XMM-Newton. A churning region of star birth and death in our small neighboring galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), this field was one of several chosen to test out XMM-Newton's x-ray imaging capabilities. The picture is a false-colour one in which low energy x-rays are translated to red, medium energy to green, and high energy to blue. Image colours therefore represent the relative million degree temperatures of the x-ray emitting regions, red being the coolest and blue the hottest. Remains of the star that exploded as Supernova 1987a appear here as the white x-ray source at the lower right, while another supernova remnant, cataloged as N157D is the brightest source at the upper left. The bluish arc (near center) also appears to be a supernova remnant whose expanding debris cloud is interacting with the LMC's local interstellar gas.

Tomorrow's picture: Saturnday

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.