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NASA has published image of a "dying" star

NASA has released a stunning image of the "Hand of God" - a vast nebula shaped like an enormous cosmic hand. The ghostly formation demonstrates complex physics at play when stars die.

Officially called PSR B1509-58, the nebula is a relic of a massive star that perished in a supernova explosion some 1,600 years ago. As the star collapsed, its core formed an ultra-dense neutron star that spins rapidly as a pulsar, firing jets of matter.

These particle beams sweep through material ejected by the supernova, sculpting it into the finger-like filaments of the Hand of God. The name comes from its uncanny resemblance to a gigantic hand reaching through space.

To study the object, NASA combined data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory and its newer IXPE probe. Together, they have produced the first detailed maps of the nebula’s magnetic field - which shapes its ethereal form.

The measurements show the field is highly organized. Initially weak and tangled where particles are spewed out, it straightens into uniform lines further away. This accelerates and focuses the particles into jet-like shapes.

By imaging phenomena like the Hand of God across the electromagnetic spectrum, NASA reveals the hidden physics underlying the spectacular sights. The deaths of stars generate some of the cosmos’ most awe-inspiring and strangely beautiful vistas.

Learning how these celestial treasures take shape provides insights into the laws governing the universe. As NASA trains more cameras on the heavens, we continue uncovering nature’s cosmic artistry in action.

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