The universe is full of mysteries waiting to be solved, and some of them look especially spooky with the arrival of Halloween.
Jupiter’s haunting “face” and a nebula shaped like a ghostly skeleton hand are just some of the eerie celestial features recently discovered by a NASA mission.
Jupiter’s eerie “face”
The Juno mission, which has been orbiting Jupiter and some of its largest moons since 2016, made its 54th flyby of the solar system’s largest planet on September 7. The JunoCam instrument captured swirling clouds and storms in Jupiter’s northern region along Jupiter’s Terminator. The line that separates the day side from the night side.
In a phenomenon called pareidolia, Picasso-like faces appear to emerge from the turbulent atmosphere. In this phenomenon, viewers peek at faces and other recognizable objects in a random pattern.
The raw data publicly available on the JunoCam website was processed by citizen scientist Vladimir Tarasov. During the flyby, Juno flew about 4,800 miles (7,700 kilometers) above the planet’s clouds, where low-angle sunlight added a dramatic quality to the images.
The celestial bone was discovered using X-rays.
X-rays were first used in 1895 by physicist Wilhelm Roentgen to photograph the bones of his wife’s hand. And now, two X-ray telescopes have revealed the “bones” of a glowing hand-shaped cloud formed by the impact of star collisions. Collapse.
The cloud of gas and dust, or nebula, was formed 1,500 years ago when a massive star burned up the nuclear fuel inside it and collapsed. The nebula, known as MSH 15-52, is located about 16,000 light-years from Earth.
When this star collapsed, it left behind a dense remnant known as a neutron star. A neutron star that rotates at high speed and has a strong magnetic field is called a pulsar. The newly formed pulsar sent out jets of energized material, creating powerful winds that gave rise to this particular nebula.
NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory first observed the pulsar, known as PSR B1509-58, in 2001. The bright pulsar was discovered at the base of the hand-shaped nebula’s “palm.” The jet from the pulsar can be traced to the “wrist”.
Map of the nebula’s magnetic field
More than 20 years later, NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimeter Explorer (IXPE) spent 17 days observing the nebula. This is the space observatory’s longest observation campaign since its launch in December 2021. The results of the new telescope’s operation were published Monday in the Astrophysical Journal.
“The IXPE data give us the first map of the ‘hand’s’ magnetic field,” study lead author Roger Romani, a professor of physics at Stanford University in California, said in a statement. Much like the bones of a human hand, the basic shape of the nebula is determined by the magnetic field. ”
The telescope’s unique observing capabilities have allowed scientists to determine where particles in the nebula are accelerated by turbulent regions in the magnetic field.