Latest Planetary nebula Stories
Astronomers using ESO facilities in combination with telescopes in the Canary Islands have identified two surprisingly massive stars at the heart of the planetary nebula Henize 2-428. As they orbit each other, the two stars are expected to slowly get closer and closer, and when they merge, about 700 million years from now, they will contain enough material to ignite a vast supernova explosion.
For many years astronomers have known that young 'protostars' drive supersonic jets of gas from their north and south poles. However, this is the first time that so many of them have been detected at once.
The region in space around a planetary nebula is filled with harsh radiation. Yet despite this hostile environment, the area is seeded with a molecule essential to the formation of water.
Astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile have captured this eye-catching image of planetary nebula PN A66 33 — usually known as Abell 33.
To celebrate its 24th year in orbit, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has released a beautiful new image of part of NGC 2174, also known as the Monkey Head Nebula.
Large stars can end their lives as violently cataclysmic supernovae. Small stars, in contrast, end up as planetary nebulae—colorful, glowing clouds of dust and gas. These nebulae were once thought to be mostly spherical.
Astronomers at ESO have captured the best image so far of the curious clouds around the star cluster NGC 3572.
In the spirit of Halloween, scientists are releasing a trio of stellar ghosts caught in infrared light by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.
The Boomerang Nebula, at a crisp one degree Kelvin (minus 458 degrees Fahrenheit), is the coldest known object in the Universe. In fact, the Boomerang Nebula is colder than the faint afterglow of the Big Bang, which is the natural background temperature of space.
This particular object, located some 23,000 light-years away in the constellation Triangulum Australe, is in the early stages of its death cycle.
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...
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...
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...
Saturn Nebula -- The layers of the Saturn Nebula give a complex picture of how this planetary nebula was created. The above picture, taken in April 1996 and released last week, allows a better understanding of the mysterious process that transformed a low-mass star into a white dwarf star. A computer model indicates that the central star of NGC 7009 first expelled the green gas that now appears barrel shaped. This green gas now confines stellar winds flowing from the central star,...
Ring Nebula -- Discovered by Antoine Darquier de Pellepoix in 1779. The famous ring nebula M57 is often regarded as the prototype of a planetary nebula, and a showpiece in the northern hemisphere summer sky. Recent research has confirmed that it is, most probably, actually a ring (torus) of bright light-emitting material surrounding its central star, and not a spherical (or ellipsoidal) shell, thus coinciding with an early assumption by John Herschel. Viewed from this equatorial...
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