Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Debris From Exploded Star Looks Serene - From Here

"NGC 6302 / Butterfly Emerges from Stellar Demise in Planetary Nebula NGC 6302"
Hubble, NASA (July 27, 2009)

"This celestial object looks like a delicate butterfly. But it is far from serene.

"What resemble dainty butterfly wings are actually roiling cauldrons of gas heated to more than 36,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The gas is tearing across space at more than 600,000 miles an hour -- fast enough to travel from Earth to the moon in 24 minutes!

"A dying star that was once about five times the mass of the Sun is at the center of this fury. It has ejected its envelope of gases and is now unleashing a stream of ultraviolet radiation that is making the cast-off material glow. This object is an example of a planetary nebula, so-named because many of them have a round appearance resembling that of a planet when viewed through a small telescope. ...

"...NGC 6302 lies within our Milky Way galaxy, roughly 3,800 light-years away in the constellation Scorpius. The glowing gas is the star’s outer layers, expelled over about 2,200 years. The "butterfly" stretches for more than two light-years, which is about half the distance from the Sun to the nearest star, Alpha Centauri...."

There's a 'full size' (2963 x 3538 pixels) version available at "Images from Refurbished Hubble," along with other other eye-poppers, like Stephan's Quintet and the Carina Nebula: and a graphic of Eta Carina's spectrum. Each photo has several paragraphs of descriptive text.

These are visually-impressive photos. More to the point, the relatively high-definition, high color depth images Hubble is getting allow astronomers to see how closely their models of how stars work match reality - and learn more about what makes the universe tick.

Or, in this case, whoosh.

No comments:

Unique, innovative candles

Visit us online:
Spiral Light CandleFind a Retailer
Spiral Light Candle online store

Pinterest: From the Man Behind the Lemming

Top 10 Most-Viewed Posts

Today's News! Some of it, anyway

Actually, some of yesterday's news may be here. Or maybe last week's.
The software and science stuff might still be interesting, though. Or not.
The Lemming thinks it's interesting: Your experience may vary.
("Following" list moved here, after Blogger changed formats)

Who Follows the Lemming?


Family Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory