Any idea what causes this?

I cannot envisage a physical process that would produce a highly localised ribbon of dust and gas like this, so perhaps the material itself is widely distributed but only this part is being illuminated by a jet of relativistic particles that excite the emissions that we see? Does anyone have any information on this “object”?


Amazing. I’ve seen other remnants of supernova explosions but nothing that looks quite like this. Thanks for the info!

the other supernova remnants you may have seen like this:

are not optical images. This image was taken by the Chandra X-ray Observatory.
most supernova remnants glow brightly in X-ray and radio, but only the edges (the shockwave) glow in visible. In this website: Aladin Lite , type in the search bar “Cas a”, and look at it in X-ray from Chandra, then look at it in visible from DSS2

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Wow, spectacular image. Actually I was referring to visible remnants. there are loads of other strands of glowing gas all over the area that are probably parts of the same residual, but nothing looks quite as strikingly linear or as bright as this bit.

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The visible light emitted from the Crab nebula is created by synchrotron radiation, caused by the magnetic fields of the pulsar and ejected gas inside it

Yes, that is why I suspected that this ribbon of gas and dust had to be irradiated by something to make it glow, and it was the localisation of the irradiation that made just this part of a much wider distributed gas and dust cloud glow like this. Apparently the established explanation is that this fast-moving cloud (440,000mph!) is hitting stationary gas and dust, and that is what is causing the excitation and the glow. I’d like to see some evidence for that, being a natural skeptic!

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