NASA releases most detailed image of eerie 'Hand of God' in space

In the vast expanse of infinite space, unimaginable phenomena can occur, such as the eerie resemblance of a nebula to a human hand, as depicted in an image unveiled by NASA. This ghostly picture was released on October 30, perfectly coinciding with the Halloween season's peak. Dubbed the 'Hand of God,' this structure is formed by a pulsar, a highly magnetized rotating neutron star, and its accompanying pulsar wind nebula.
The pulsar, known as PSR B1509-58, is situated at the base of the 'palm' within the structure and was left behind by a supernova explosion approximately 1,600 years ago. As it rotates, this neutron star emits jets of matter and antimatter from its poles, along with a powerful wind. The remaining part of the 'hand' is comprised of its wind nebula, designated as MSH 15-52.
Employing its latest X-ray telescope, NASA observed the star for around 17 days before combining the data with observations from the Chandra X-ray telescope to create the image unveiled yesterday. Roger Romani from Stanford University in California pointed out that the X-ray data appears to reveal the 'bones,' providing the 'first map of the magnetic field in the ‘hand''.

"The charged particles emitting the X-rays follow the magnetic field lines, shaping the nebula in a manner analogous to how bones define the structure of a person's hand," he elaborated.

Josephine Wong, who collaborated on the study with Romani, commented, "We commonly associate X-rays with diagnostic medical applications for humans. However, in this context, we are utilizing X-rays differently, yet they are once again unveiling concealed information for us."
In addition to creating an image resembling a colossal hand poised to stretch across space and potentially pull Earth out of its orbit, the X-ray data has provided NASA with valuable insights into the role of pulsars as particle accelerators.

The image displays a brilliant X-ray jet extending from the pulsar to the 'wrist' of the hand-shaped structure, revealing low polarization at the jet's beginning. According to NASA's press release, this is likely due to the turbulent nature of this region, where intricate, tangled magnetic fields are involved in generating high-energy particles.

Towards the end of the jet, however, the magnetic field lines seem to straighten and become more uniform, resulting in increased polarization. This suggests that particles receive an energy boost in the complex and turbulent areas near the pulsar before streaming towards regions where the magnetic field is uniform along the 'wrist,' resembling the hand's fingers and thumb.

Niccolò Di Lalla, another co-author of the paper, remarked, "We have unveiled the life history of extremely energetic matter and antimatter particles around the pulsar."

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