Latest Nebulae Stories

2010-02-17 07:06:12

New images from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope show where supernova remnants emit radiation a billion times more energetic than visible light. The images bring astronomers a step closer to understanding the source of some of the universe's most energetic particles -- cosmic rays. Cosmic rays consist mainly of protons that move through space at nearly the speed of light. In their journey across the galaxy, the particles are deflected by magnetic fields. This scrambles their paths and...

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...

2009-09-09 15:30:00

The simple picture of star formation calls for giant clouds of gas and dust to collapse inward due to gravity, growing denser and hotter until igniting nuclear fusion. In reality, forces other than gravity also influence the birth of stars. New research shows that cosmic magnetic fields play a more important role in star formation than previously thought. A molecular cloud is a cloud of gas that acts as a stellar nursery. When a molecular cloud collapses, only a small fraction of the cloud's...

2009-08-26 07:20:00

Today ESO has released a new image of the Trifid Nebula, showing just why it is a firm favorite of astronomers, amateur and professional alike. This massive star factory is so named for the dark dust bands that trisect its glowing heart, and is a rare combination of three nebula types, revealing the fury of freshly formed stars and presaging more star birth. Smoldering several thousand light-years away in the constellation of Sagittarius (the Archer), the Trifid Nebula presents a compelling...

2009-08-14 07:35:00

A team of scientists in Australia and the United States, led by Associate Professor Miroslav FilipoviÄ“¡ from the University of Western Sydney, have discovered a new class of object which they call "Super Planetary Nebulae."  They report their work in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Planetary nebulae are shells of gas and dust expelled by stars near the end of their lives and are typically seen around stars comparable or smaller in...

2009-07-20 15:45:00

A star does not die without getting noticed and may even leave the universe with "fireworks." At the end of its life cycle, a star begins to collapse in the middle and throws new material into space. The new material eventually becomes incorporated into new planets and life. Now, a University of Missouri professor identified new features in the material that is being ejected from the dying star Helix Nebula. A high-resolution near-infrared image revealed new information about the knots, or...

2009-06-09 15:51:04

The astrophysicist João Alves, director of the Calar Alto Observatory in Almeria, and his colleague Andreas Brkert, from the German observatory in the University of Munich, believe that "the inevitable future of the starless cloud Barnard 68" is to collapse and give rise to a new star, according to an article which has been published recently in The Astrophysical Journal.Barnard 68 (B68) is a dark nebula located in the constellation of Ofiuco, around 400 light years away....

2009-03-12 12:40:00

The "Cat's Eye" nebula, or NGC 6543, is a well-studied example of a "planetary nebula." Such objects are the glowing remnants of dust and gas expelled from moderate-sized stars during their last stages of life. Our own sun will generate such a nebula in about five billion years. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has studied many such planetary nebulae in infrared light, including a variety of more distant ones, which have helped scientists identify a population of carbon-bearing stars near our...

2009-01-07 12:55:00

Even some stars go ballistic, racing through interstellar space like bullets and tearing through clouds of gas. Images from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope reveal 14 young, runaway stars plowing through regions of dense interstellar gas, creating brilliant arrowhead structures and trailing tails of glowing gas. These arrowheads, or bow shocks, form when the stars' powerful stellar winds, streams of matter flowing from the stars, slam into surrounding dense gas. The phenomenon is similar to that...

2008-12-31 15:10:00

New computer visualization technology developed by the Harvard Initiative in Innovative Computing has helped astrophysicists understand that gravity plays a larger role than previously thought in deep space's vast, star-forming molecular clouds. The insight, to be reported in the Jan. 1 issue of the journal Nature, is being illustrated in the journal's online version through new three-dimensional Portable Document Format (PDF) technology that will allow readers to view the article's key...

Latest Nebulae 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 Formation -- Star formation is the process by which gas in molecular clouds gets transformed into stars. In the current paradigm of star formation, cores of molecular clouds (regions of specially high density) became gravitationally unstable, and start to concentrate. Part of the gravitational energy lost in the process is radiated in the infrared, another part increases the temperature of the core. The accretion of material happen partially though a circumstellar disc. When...

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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