ESA XMM-Newton Telescope Captures Space Bubble
October 29, 2012

ESA XMM-Newton Telescope Captures Space Bubble

Lee Rannals for — Your Universe Online

The European Space Agency (ESA) has released an image of the cauldron bubble as seen by its XMM-Newton space telescope.

The cauldron bubble lies 5,000 light-years away from Earth, and is a bubble bursting with the fiery stellar wind of a star.

Sitting in the constellation of Canis Major, the bubble spans nearly 60 light-years across and was blown by the stellar wind of the Wolf Rayet star HD 50896.

This pink star is near the center of the image that makes up one of the object's piercing eyes.

Wolf-Rayet bubbles are the result of a hot, massive star that expels material through a strong stellar wind. This star's howling wind is a million-degree plasma that emits X-rays, which in the image shows up blue.

The green halo seen in the image is a result of a shock wave racing out from the star and colliding with layers of stellar material that has already been ejected into space.

An X-ray emission blow out found at the top left of the image gives the wolf an ear, and a denser region to the bottom right can be likened to a snout, according to the space agency's description.

ESA said that eventually the bubble will burst and disperse into the surrounding environment, while the star will end its life in a dramatic supernova explosion.

The paper entitled "X-Ray Emission from the Wolf-Rayet Bubble S 308" and written by J. Toala et al was published in the Astrophysical Journal.