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💫X-Ray Glint In The Cat's Eye

This composite image of Chandra and Hubble Space Telescope data offers astronomers an opportunity to compare where the hotter, X-ray emitting gas appears in relation to the cooler material seen in optical wavelengths. The Chandra team found that the chemical abundances in the region of hot gas (its X-ray intensity is shown in purple) were like those in the wind from the central star and different from the outer cooler material (the red and green structures.) Although still incredibly energetic and hot enough to radiate X-rays.

Chandra shows the hot gas to be somewhat cooler than scientists would have expected for such a system. These results present a puzzle since the temperature of the X-ray emitting material suggests that mixing might have occurred. This discrepancy means some other process has created the "lukewarm" X-ray emission observed by Chandra. The color composite of optical and X-ray images was made by Zoltan G. Levay (Space Telescope Science Institute). The optical images were taken by J.P. Harrington and K.J. Borkowski (University of Maryland) with the Hubble Space Telescope.

Left: X-ray (NASA/UIUC/Y.Chu et al.), Right: X-ray/Optical Composite (X-ray: NASA/UIUC/Y.Chu et al., Optical: NASA/HST)

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