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-yearstoward 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.
Space news (August 15, 2015) – approximately 6,000 light-years toward the constellation Sagittarius (The Archer) –
When NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope first looked at the Little Gem Nebula (NGC 6818) using the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 back in 1997, the image obtained was done so with filters that highlighted ionized oxygen and hydrogen in the planetary nebula.
This image of the Little Gem Nebula shows off complex structures with a bright, enclosed central gas bubble surrounded by larger, more diffuse gas clouds obtained using different filters. Offering the human journey to the beginning of space and time a totally different view of this spectacular stellar object.
Our own Sun billions of years in the future will shed its outer layers into space to create a glowing cloud of gas similar to planetary nebula NGC 6818. Space scientists believe the stellar wind created by the star at the center of this planetary nebula provides the force to propel the uneven outflowing mass.
Studying the final days of sun-like stars provides scientists with data concerning the life cycle of stars similar in size and output to the Sun. Data they can use to devise new ideas and theories to delve deeper into the mysteries surrounding the closest star to Earth.
You can find more information on planetary nebula here.