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Ghostly remnants of a dead star revealed in infrared light

The supernova remnant HBH 3 glows with infrared light in this image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. Infrared light with a wavelength of 3.6 microns is shown in blue, while the lower-energy infrared light with a wavelength of 4.5 microns is shown in red. Spitzer captured this image in May 2010, and NASA released on Aug. 2, 2018.

(NASA/JPL-Caltech/IPAC)

Red streaks of energy gas that is left of an ancient stellar explosion branch in the cosmos in this spectacular new picture from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope.

This remnant, known as HBH 3, is one of the largest in the Galaxy and measure about 150 light-years away. It is also one of the oldest; the star that exploded to create this cosmic spectacle did 80,000 to 1 million years ago, NASA officials said in a statement.

HBH 3 was first identified in 1966 by scientists using radio telescopes, astronomers can peer through interstellar dust and “see” the low frequency radiation that is not visible to the human eye. The Spitzer Space Telescope observes the universe in infrared light, which has a higher energy than radio waves, but is still just outside the visible spectrum. [Gallery: The Infrared Universe Seen by Spitzer Telescope]

s of the supernova remnant HBH 3 do glow with visible light. “The branches of glowing material, are the most likely molecular gas that was ravaged by a shock wave generated by the supernova,” NASA officials said. “The energy of the explosion energy of the molecules and causes them to emit infrared light.”

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Together with the supernova remnant, the image shows the parts of some hazy, white clouds known as W3, W4 and W5. These regions form a large molecular cloud complex in the constellation of Cassiopeia.

To create this image of HBH 3 and the surrounding clouds, researchers mapped the data from the Spitzer Space Telescope by assigning colors to two types of infrared light that is radiated by the region. Infrared light with a wavelength of 3.6 microns is shown in blue, while the lower-energy infrared light with a wavelength of 4.5 microns is shown in red.

The clouds of W3, W4 and W5 appear white because they radiate both of these wavelengths of the light, the supernova remnant appears red because it transmits only the 4.5-micron infrared light.

NASA’s Fermi Gamma-Ray Telescope has also detected high-energy gamma-rays coming from the cloudy region around HBH 3. “This emission may be from the gas in one of the neighboring star-forming regions, excited by powerful particles emitted by the supernova explosion,” NASA officials said.

This image is from the Spitzer Space Telescope was captured in May 2010 and was released on Aug. 2, 2018.

Original article on Space.com.

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