Astronomers have released amazing new images of Neutron stars, the Small Magellanic Cloud, which is only 200,000 light-years from Earth.
The photographs were taken using the MUSE instrument on the ultra-large telescope at the European Southern Observatory in Chile, and other images – helping researchers find an elusive object outside our own Milky Way for the first time, called an isolated neutron star.
This neutron star is essentially the remains of a star buried in a cloud of gas that has been left behind by a 2,000-year-old supernova. The massive star exploded at the end of a huge explosion.
These stars are usually only 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), but they are heavier than our sun because they are too dense.
They are thought to be abundant in the entire universe, although they are hard to find because they only emit light at the X-ray wavelength.
The images show a spectacular ring of gas surrounding the isolated neutron star in a star system known as 1E 0102.2-7219.
Scientists led by ESO researcher Frédéric Vogt noted that the ring occurred around a well-known X-ray source that has long plagued astronomers.
After further inspections by the Chandra X-ray Observatory, they were able to identify the central object as isolated neutron stars.
Astronomers say that the fact that the star was identified with the help of optical observations is particularly exciting.
Vogt said in a statement: “If you look for a point source, it’s not much better than the universe is drawing a circle around it to show where you are looking.”