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8 incredible images of dead and dying stars

By: Katherine Butler on April 17, 2012, 6:34 p.m.
supernova remnant G54.1+0.3

Photo: NASA

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A dusty, dead star

Here is a composite image from NASA’S Spitzer and Chandra space telescopes showing the supernova remnant G54.1+0.3, located some 20,000 light-years from Earth. This image highlights the white object at the center of the supernova remnant, which is a dense neutron star called pulsar. When a massive star explodes into a supernova, the central part of the star collapses under gravity, creating the neutron. When this neutron rotates rapidly, it is called a pulsar. The rotating pulsar creates a wind of high-energy particles that are being dispersed back into space. Someday these particles may be where the star may be recycled into a new generation of celestial objects. You can take a video tour of G54.1+0.3 below.