Vela Pulsar

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Chandra X-ray
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Vela Pulsar: A rapidly rotating neutron star in the Vela supernova remnant.
(Credit: NASA/PSU/G.Pavlov et al.)

Caption: Chandra's bizarre image of the Vela pulsar (bright spot in the center) shows the details of a compact nebula that resembles a gigantic cosmic crossbow. This structure is created by a rapidly rotating neutron star, or pulsar that spins out rings and jets of high-energy particles while shooting through space. As indicated by the green arrow, the jets point in the same direction as the motion of the pulsar. The swept back appearance of the nebula is due to the motion of the pulsar through the supernova remnant.

Scale: Image is 3.5 arcmin on a side.

Chandra X-ray Observatory ACIS Image

CXC operated for NASA by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory