Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Butterfly Nebula

The Butterfly Nebula is only thousands of years old and is a central star of a binary system. The effect seen here is due to it's outer envelopes of gas being swept away in a strong stellar wind.

The remaining stellar core is so hot it ionizes the previously ejected gas, causing it to glow. The different colors of this planetary nebula are determined by small differences in its composition. This bipolar nebula will continue to shine brightly for only a few thousand more years, after which its central star will fade and become a white dwarf star.


This image compares the quality of Hubble images. The image on the right was taken just after the Hubble telescope was launched. The one on the right shows the improvements achieved after the missions to repair and improve the telescope.

 Hubble Compared


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