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Latest Planetary nebula Stories

2008-07-11 15:00:09

Almost two months ago my newborn son began his life just as stars go through a life cycle of their own. Stars are formed from within a nebula, a cloud of gas and dust. Over time, hydrogen gas is pulled together by gravity and begins to spin faster and faster until the gas heats up to spark nuclear fusion in the core, and a new star is formed. In the first stages of life, a star fuses hydrogen gas into helium. Ninety percent of stars are in this main sequence stage. The sun, about 4.5...

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2008-06-03 10:20:00

A team of stellar astronomers is engaged in an interstellar CSI (crime scene investigation). They have two suspects, traces of assault and battery, but no corpse. The southern planetary nebula SuWt 2 is the scene of the crime, some 6,500 light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Centaurus. SuWt 2 consists of a bright, nearly edge-on glowing ring of gas. Faint lobes extend perpendicularly to the ring, giving the faintest parts of the nebula an hourglass shape. These glowing...

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2008-03-10 16:40:00

Astronomers at the University of Rochester, home to one of the world's largest groups of planetary nebulae specialists, have announced that low-mass stars and possibly even super-Jupiter-sized planets may be responsible for creating some of the most breathtaking objects in the sky.The news is ironic because the name "planetary" nebula has always been a misnomer. When these objects were discovered 300 years ago, astronomers couldn't tell what they were and named them for their resemblance to...

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2008-03-04 09:20:23

Probing a glowing bubble of gas and dust encircling a dying star, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope reveals a wealth of previously unseen structures. The object, called NGC 2371, is a planetary nebula, the glowing remains of a Sun-like star. The remnant star visible at the center of NGC 2371 is the super-hot core of the former red giant, now stripped of its outer layers. Its surface temperature is a scorching 240,000 degrees Fahrenheit. NGC 2371 lies about 4,300 light-years away in the...

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2007-12-04 09:45:00

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope is providing strong evidence that white dwarfs, the burned out relics of stars, are given a "kick" when they form. The sharp vision of Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys uncovered the speedy white dwarfs in the ancient globular star cluster NGC 6397, a dense swarm of hundreds of thousands of stars. Before the stars burned-out as white dwarfs, they were among the most massive stars in NGC 6397. Because massive stars are thought to gather at a globular cluster's...

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2007-09-27 08:51:36

A team of European astronomers has used ESO's Very Large Telescope Interferometer and its razor-sharp eyes to discover a reservoir of dust trapped in a disc that surrounds an elderly star. The discovery provides additional clues about the shaping of planetary nebulae. In the last phases of their life, stars such as our Sun evolve from a red giant which would engulf the orbit of Mars to a white dwarf, an object that is barely larger than the Earth. The transition is accomplished by the...

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2007-09-11 09:23:02

The colorful, intricate shapes in these NASA Hubble Space Telescope images reveal how the glowing gas ejected by dying Sun-like stars evolves dramatically over time. These gaseous clouds, called planetary nebulae, are created when stars in the last stages of life cast off their outer layers of material into space. Ultraviolet light from the remnant star makes the material glow. Planetary nebulae last for only 10,000 years, a fleeting episode in the 10-billion-year lifespan of Sun-like stars....

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2007-08-15 14:30:00

NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer has spotted an amazingly long comet-like tail behind a star streaking through space at supersonic speeds. The star, named Mira after the Latin word for "wonderful," has been a favorite of astronomers for about 400 years. It is a fast-moving, older star called a red giant that sheds massive amounts of surface material. The space-based Galaxy Evolution Explorer scanned the popular star during its ongoing survey of the entire sky in ultraviolet light....

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2007-02-13 13:10:00

A brand new image taken with Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 shows the planetary nebula NGC 2440 - the chaotic structure of the demise of a star. This image, just taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, shows the colourful "last hurrah" of a star like our Sun. The star is ending its life by casting off its outer layers of gas, which formed a cocoon around the star's remaining core. Ultraviolet light from the dying star makes the material glow. The burned-out star, called a white...

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2006-01-10 06:35:00

Washington, DC -- The Helix Nebula (NGC 7293) is a challenging stargazing target for amateur astronomers. It is one of the closest planetary nebulas - a type of nebula formed from gas ejected by a dying sunlike star. Yet it is so large and spread out in the sky that it appears very dim in a telescope eyepiece. Long-exposure photographs unveil the true beauty of this celestial wonder. A new portrait of the Helix Nebula, created by the penetrating infrared gaze of NASA's Spitzer Space...


Latest Planetary nebula Reference Libraries

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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...

6_c65813e67f1bee99b0418c20e5cbbe582
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...

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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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2004-10-19 04:45:40

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,...

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2004-10-19 04:45:40

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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Word of the Day
bibliopole
  • A bookseller; now, especially, a dealer in rare and curious books.
This word comes from a Greek phrase meaning 'book seller.'
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