Location: Vela Nebula
Coordinates: 08 35 20.65 -45 10 35.15
Distance: ~800 light years
Remnant of a supernova explosion from approximately 10,000 years ago. A rapidly spinning neutron star makes over 11 complete rotations every second. As it spins around it spews out a jet of charged particles along its rotation axis at about 70% of the speed of light. Although the pulsar is only about 19 kilometers in diameter the jet it emits is over 6.6 trillion kilometers long. The gases and material ejected by the supernova form the surrounding Vela Nebula, which is around 100 light-years in diameter and one of the closest nebula to Earth.
A stellar-scale electric discharge forms jets and tori of highly charged plasma at the focus of a powerful z-pinch. Plasma accelerated away from the point of discharge emits synchrotron radiation and fills the surrounding space, forming the Vela Nebula. The pulsation of Vela is generated by a process similar to an oscillator circuit, where electrical energy is stored temporarily then suddenly released in rapid bursts. In this case the electrical energy flowing into Vela is stored in equatorial tori until it is released through the polar jets. The corkscrew shape of the bright rear jet is indicative of a polar electric discharge.