In their recent post, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) shared a spectacular image of a nebula of energy and particles generated by a pulsar left behind after a star exploded. On Instagram, the space agency shared the image captured by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory with the caption, "If you got it, haunt it." Adding, "This famous hand-shaped structure is a nebula of energy & particles blown by a pulsar left behind after a star exploded."
IXPE observed image for nearly 17 days
Astronomers used two NASA X-ray space telescopes to reveal the magnetic field 'bones' of the hand-shaped structure by combining the imaging capabilities. According to NASA's report, the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) has been observing MSH 15-52 for nearly 17 days.
According to NASA, the study's leader, Roger Romani of Stanford University in California, said, "The IXPE data gives us the first map of the magnetic field in the 'hand.' Like the bones in a person's hand, the charged particles that produce the X-rays travel along the magnetic field, determining the basic shape of the nebula," NASA quoted Roger Romani of Stanford University in California, who led the study.
According to NASA, the magnetic field of the X-ray source controls the electric field direction of the X-rays, which is referred to as X-ray polarisation.
In many sections the degree of polarisation is extremely high
The degree of polarisation is extremely high in numerous sections of MSH 15-52, advancing the maximum limit estimated by the above theoretical study. That strength necessitates an extraordinarily steady and straight magnetic field, implying that turbulence is minimal in particular portions of the pulsar wind nebula.
The report's co-author, Josephine Wong of Stanford University, said, "We're all familiar with X-rays as a human diagnostic medical tool. But here, we're using X-rays in another way, revealing information otherwise hidden from us."
Polarisation at the onset of the jet is low
One intriguing characteristic of MSH 15-52 is a strong X-ray jet directed from the pulsar to the "wrist" at the bottom of the image, according to NASA. In its report, NASA said, "The latest IXPE data reveal that the polarisation at the start of the jet is low, likely because this is a turbulent region with complex, tangled magnetic fields associated with generating high-energy particles." Additionally, the report added that by the end of the jet, the magnetic field lines appear to straighten and become much more uniform, causing the polarization to become much larger.
According to NASA, after gaining an energy boost in complex turbulence regions near the pulsar at the base of the palm, particles migrate to areas where the magnetic field is uniform along the wrist, fingers, and thumb.