VLA Radio & Chandra X-Ray Composite of the Mouse

Image
Minimum credit line: Image courtesy of NRAO/AUI and Chandra: NASA/CXC/SAO/B.Gaensler et al.(for details, see Image Use Policy).

About this Image

The Mouse (a.k.a. G359.23-0.82) gets its name from its appearance in radio images that show a compact snout, a bulbous body, and a remarkable long, narrow, tail that extends for about 55 light years. This image, a composite X-ray (gold) and radio (blue), shows a close-up of the head of the Mouse where a shock wave has formed as a young pulsar plows through interstellar space. Pulsars are rapidly spinning, highly magnetized, neutron stars left behind after the explosion of a massive star. Winds of high-energy particles from pulsars create large, magnetized clouds of high-energy particles called pulsar wind nebulas. In the case of the Mouse, the pulsar-wind nebula is swept back by the rapidly moving pulsar's interaction with the interstellar gas. Near the front of the nebula an intense X-ray source marks the location of the pulsar, estimated to be moving through space at about 1.3 million miles per hour.

Alternate Resolutions Help

This image is available in the following downloadable versions:If you would like to obtain a higher resolution version of this image, please contact Pat Smiley.

For More Information

Technical Data

    Telescope VLA 
    Type of Observation Continuum Observations 
    Band L 
    Wavelength 20 cm 
    Frequency 1.4 GHz 
    Center of Image RA: 17:47:15.00, Dec: -29:58:1.00 (J2000)  
    Field of View 0.0417 x 0.0250 degrees  
    Technical Caption The X-ray cloud consists of high-energy particles swept back by the pulsar's interaction with the interstellar gas. Near the front of the cloud an intense X-ray source marks the location of the pulsar, estimated to be moving through space at about 1.3 million miles per hour. A cone-shaped cloud of less energetic, radio-wave-emitting particles envelopes the X-ray cloud.

    Pulsars are rapidly spinning, highly magnetized, neutron stars. Their formation is associated with the collapse and explosion of a massive star. Most pulsars get accelerated to a high speed by some mechanism - presumably related to the explosion - that is still unknown. Winds of high-energy particles from pulsars create large, magnetized clouds of high-energy particles called pulsar wind nebulas.

    A few dozen pulsar wind nebulas are known, including the spectacular Crab Nebula, but none have the Mouse's combination of relatively young age and incredibly rapid motion through interstellar space. In effect, it presents astronomers with a supersonic cosmic wind tunnel that they can use to estimate the speed of the pulsar and to study the effects of the pulsar's motion on its pulsar wind nebula.  


  • Astronomical database entries for The Mouse
    • Query SIMBAD for more The Mouse data

SEARCH THE IMAGE GALLERY

To search the Image Gallery for other images of The Mouse, click the Submit button.
Object Name Show Results As:

To search the Image Gallery for similar images, click the Submit button.
Category Sub-Category Telescope Mode Show Results As:

For more search options, please use our Advanced Search form.