Latest Nebula Stories

2010-03-30 09:20:00

The Hubble Space Telescope's dramatic glimpse of the Carina Nebula, a gigantic cloud of dust and gas bustling with star-making activity, is a glorious feast for the eyes. Energetic young stars are sculpting a fantasy landscape of bubbles, valleys, mountains, and pillars. Now this celestial fantasyland has been brought into view for people who cannot explore the image by sight. Max Mutchler, a research and instrument scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, and Noreen...

2010-03-17 10:43:16

A new infrared image from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, shows a cosmic rosebud blossoming with new stars. The stars, called the Berkeley 59 cluster, are the blue dots to the right of the image center. They are ripening out of the dust cloud from which they formed, and at just a few million years old, are young on stellar time scales. The rosebud-like red glow surrounding the hot, young stars is warm dust heated by the stars. Green "leafy" nebulosity enfolds the cluster,...

2010-03-16 09:00:45

Nebulae around stars with girth flicker like candles The birth of the most massive stars"”those ten to a hundred times the mass of the Sun"”has posed an astrophysical riddle for decades. Massive stars are dense enough to fuse hydrogen while they're still gathering material from the gas cloud, so it was a mystery why their brilliant radiation does not heat the infalling gas and blow it away. New simulations by researchers affiliated with the University of Heidelberg, American...

2010-03-03 07:15:00

An Island of Stars in the Making on the Outskirts of Orion The delicate nebula NGC 1788, located in a dark and often neglected corner of the Orion constellation, is revealed in a new and finely nuanced image that ESO is releasing today. Although this ghostly cloud is rather isolated from Orion's bright stars, the latter's powerful winds and light have had a strong impact on the nebula, forging its shape and making it home to a multitude of infant suns. Stargazers all over the world are...

2010-02-10 08:05:00

The Orion Nebula reveals many of its hidden secrets in a dramatic image taken by ESO's new VISTA survey telescope. The telescope's huge field of view can show the full splendor of the whole nebula and VISTA's infrared vision also allows it to peer deeply into dusty regions that are normally hidden and expose the curious behavior of the very active young stars buried there. VISTA "” the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy "” is the latest addition to ESO's Paranal...

2010-01-20 09:20:00

ESO has just released a stunning new image of the vast cloud known as the Cat's Paw Nebula or NGC 6334. This complex region of gas and dust, where numerous massive stars are born, lies near the heart of the Milky Way galaxy, and is heavily obscured by intervening dust clouds. Few objects in the sky have been as well named as the Cat's Paw Nebula, a glowing gas cloud resembling the gigantic pawprint of a celestial cat out on an errand across the Universe. British astronomer John Herschel first...

2010-01-08 14:50:00

Studies of two supernova remnants using the Japan-U.S. Suzaku observatory have revealed never-before-seen embers of the high-temperature fireballs that immediately followed the explosions. Even after thousands of years, gas within these stellar wrecks retain the imprint of temperatures 10,000 times hotter than the sun's surface. "This is the first evidence of a new type of supernova remnant -- one that was heated right after the explosion," said Hiroya Yamaguchi at the Institute of Physical...

2009-12-14 10:10:00

A collection of 30 never-before-released images of embryonic planetary systems in the Orion Nebula are the highlight of the longest single Hubble Space Telescope project ever dedicated to the topic of star and planet formation. Also known as proplyds, or protoplanetary discs, these modest blobs surrounding baby stars are shedding light on the mechanism behind planet formation. Only the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, with its high resolution and sensitivity, can take such detailed pictures...

2009-12-01 09:30:00

A recent NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image of part of NGC 7023, or the Iris Nebula, highlights a perfect dust laboratory in the sky. On Earth, we tend to find dust nothing more than a nuisance that blankets our furniture and causes us to sneeze. Cosmic dust can also be a hindrance to astronomers because cameras using visible light cannot see through it. However, studying cosmic dust in detail helps astronomers to pin down the ingredients of the raw mixture that eventually gives birth to...

2009-09-28 07:45:00

The third image of ESO's GigaGalaxy Zoom project has just been released online, completing this eye-opening dive into our galactic home in outstanding fashion. The latest image follows on from views, released over the last two weeks, of the sky as seen with the unaided eye and through an amateur telescope. This third installment provides another breathtaking vista of an astronomical object, this time a 370-million-pixel view of the Lagoon Nebula of the quality and depth needed by professional...

Latest Nebula Reference Libraries

2004-10-19 04:45:42

Supernova Remnant -- A supernova remnant (SNR) is made up of the materials left behind by the gigantic explosion of a star in a supernova. There are two possible routes to this end: either a massive star may cease to generate fusion energy in its core, and collapse inward under the force of its own gravity, or a white dwarf star may accumulate material from a companion star until it reaches a critical mass and undergoes a similar collapse. In either case, the resulting supernova...

2004-10-19 04:45:42

Star -- A star is a self-gravitating sphere of plasma in hydrostatic equilibrium that generates energy in its interior through the process of nuclear fusion. Energy from this process radiates into space as electromagnetic radiation and neutrinos. Star formation and evolution As learned by star formation astronomers, stars are born in molecular clouds, regions of higher density of matter, and form by gravitational instability inside those clouds. High mass stars illuminate powerfully...

2004-10-19 04:45:42

Reflection Nebula -- In astronomy, reflection nebulae are clouds of dust which are simply reflecting the light of a nearby star or stars. The nearby star or stars are not hot enough to cause ionization in the gas of the nebula like in emission nebulae but are bright enough to give sufficient scattering to make the dust visible. The distiction between these two types of nebulae was done by Hubble in 1922. They are usually blue because the scattering is more efficient for blue light...

2004-10-19 04:45:42

Planetary Nebula -- A planetary nebula is an astronomical object that usually appears nebulous and disk-like in low-resolution observations. Because of this appearance, similar to the appearance of planets in early observations, the "planetary" adjective was attached and has since been retained for historical consistency. According to current observations and models, planetary nebulae in fact have little to do with planets. Instead, as a small star (less than a few times the mass...

2004-10-19 04:45:42

Nebula -- in astronomy, observed manifestation of a collection of highly rarefied gas and dust in interstellar space. Prior to the 1960s this term was also applied to bodies later discovered to be galaxies, e.g., the so-called Great Nebula in the constellation Andromeda. In 1864, William Huggins confirmed William Herschel's conclusion that nebulae are not swarms of stars by determining that the spectra of nebulae are made of bright lines characteristic of radiating gases. Diffuse...

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Word of the Day
  • In the phrase to out-herod Herod, to be more violent than Herod (as represented in the old mystery plays); hence, to exceed in any excess of evil.
Herod refers to 'Herod the Great,' a Roman client king and 'a madman who murdered his own family and a great many rabbis.' According to the OED, the term is 'chiefly with allusion to Shakespeare's use' in Hamlet.