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024526

This artist's concept depicts a type of dead star called a pulsar and the surrounding disk of rubble discovered by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The pulsar, called 4U 0142+61, was once a massive star until about 100,000 years ago when it blew up in a supernova explosion and scattered dusty debris into space. Some of that debris was captured into what astronomers refer to as a 'fall-back disk,' now circling the remaining stellar core, or pulsar. The disk resembles protoplanetary disks around young stars, out of which planets are thought to be born. Supernovas are a source of iron, nitrogen and other 'heavy metals' in the universe.

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024526 (1).jpg
Copyright
Irish Photo Archive
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4850x3638 / 3.7MB
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This artist's concept depicts a type of dead star called a pulsar and the surrounding disk of rubble discovered by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The pulsar, called 4U 0142+61, was once a massive star until about 100,000 years ago when it blew up in a supernova explosion and scattered dusty debris into space. Some of that debris was captured into what astronomers refer to as a 'fall-back disk,' now circling the remaining stellar core, or pulsar. The disk resembles protoplanetary disks around young stars, out of which planets are thought to be born. Supernovas are a source of iron, nitrogen and other 'heavy metals' in the universe.