Tens of thousands of human years in length
Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Matej Novak
Text credit: European Space Agency
Space news (August 14, 2015) – planetary nebula NGC 6565; 6 degrees off center of the Milky Way, 15,200 light-years toward constellation Sagittarius, about halfway to the central core –
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope captured this image of a dying star during the final moments of its life cycle. Lasting tens of thousands of years on human time scales, the death of this star is but a brief moment in cosmic time.
Called planetary nebula NGC 6565, Hen 2-362 or ESO 456-70, depending on the space institute or astronomer you ask, this object will eventually shrink down to become a white dwarf star.
Similar to the color display to the well-known Ring Nebula (heic 1310), the stunning cloud of colorful gas seen here was ejected from the dying star due to strong stellar winds pushing the outer layers into space. The luminous core viewed was exposed in the process, which allowed ultraviolet radiation to excite the surrounding gas to different temperatures, producing this visually attractive display of color.
NASA scientists study planetary nebula like NGC 6565 to better understand the life cycle and death of stars that end their lives as white dwarf stars. The data obtained through the study of this planetary nebula will be added to the material already obtained concerning similar stellar objects. This will help astrophysics develop better ideas and theories concerning the life of stars that end their days as white dwarf stars.
You can learn more about the discoveries of the Hubble Space Telescope here.
Read more about planetary nebula here.
You can learn and follow NASA’s mission to the stars here.
Learn more about infant suns and their life cycles.