A Brief Moment in Cosmic Time

Tens of thousands of human years in length

A dying star’s final moments are captured in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The death throes of this star may only last mere moments on a cosmological timescale, but this star’s demise is still quite lengthy by our standards, lasting tens of thousands of years! The star’s agony has culminated in a wonderful planetary nebula known as NGC 6565, a cloud of gas that was ejected from the star after strong stellar winds pushed the star’s outer layers away into space. Once enough material was ejected, the star’s luminous core was exposed and it began to produce ultraviolet radiation, exciting the surrounding gas to varying degrees and causing it to radiate in an attractive array of colours. These same colours can be seen in the famous and impressive Ring Nebula (heic1310), a prominent example of a nebula like this one. Planetary nebulae are illuminated for around 10 000 years before the central star begins to cool and shrink to become a white dwarf. When this happens, the star’s light drastically diminishes and ceases to excite the surrounding gas, so the nebula fades from view. A version of this image was entered into the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures basic image competition by contestant Matej Novak.

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.

Read about NASA’s search for ultra-light weight materials with the right stuff to help enable the human journey to the beginning of space and time.

Read about ancient dust containing metal ions falling onto Mars atmosphere from Oort Cloud comet.




Spitzer Detects Message from Guardians of the Universe

Green Lantern’s emerald ring beams across space and time at NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope

Alan Scott and the Green Lantern Corps battles against the forces of evil in the constellation Scorpius

NASA images

Astronomy NASA News – Visitors from the stars have often been the main characters in myths, legends, comic book adventures and books and movies created by humans throughout the ages of mankind. Considering the diminutive knowledge astronomers have of space and time this choice provides the perfect context for adventure and the unknown. The Green Lantern is one of the most popular and beloved DC Comics heroes of all time and more recently a full length feature film starring Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively and Peter Sarsgaard. The original Green Lantern Alan Scott was created by writer Bill Finger and commercial artist Martin Nodell for All American Comics #16 (July 1940) edition. Since this time the Green Lantern alias has been shared by several DC Comics superheroes and fictional characters that have all contributed to the popularity of this timeless character.

Emerald ring nebula born in the fire of massive O type stars

Astronomers on the leading edge of the human journey to the beginning of time and space recently glimpsed this emerald nebula using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. Reminiscent of the emerald ring wielded by the Green Lantern, this emerald ring wasn’t forged by the Guardians of the Universe as the power rings of the Green Lantern Corps were in the original Green Lantern adventures. Astronomers viewing scenes like the one in the picture above believe emerald nebula like the one seen here are in fact born in the fire of the most massive stars viewed on the human journey to the beginning of the universe O type stars. This particular emerald nebula lies deep within clouds of hot gas and glowing dust in the constellation Scorpius and has been given the name RCW 120 by astronomers. The green ring we see is in fact glowing in infrared colours our eyes aren’t designed to view, but using the infrared detectors of the Spitzer Space Telescope astronomers can produce images like this one.

Green Lantern’s ring

The green ring viewed here was actually carved out by the intense ultraviolet radiation of a couple of giant stars near the centre of the nebula. The giant stars will be obscured by the light from the other stars nearby, when viewed by the infrared detectors of NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. Ring nebula like this one have actually been a common sight on the human journey to the beginning of space and time, so common that professional astronomers have asked amateur star gazers to take part in the search for ring nebula. Astronomy lovers interested in taking part in the search for ring nebula should contact the people in charge of The Milky Way Project, at http://www.milkywayproject.org/.

Check out my latest astronomy website at http://astronomytonight.yolasite.com/.

Read about NASA’s Messenger spacecraft and its mission to Mercury

Have you heard about the recent meteorite that exploded near the Ural Mountains

Read about the supernova astronomers are studying looking for a black hole they think was created during the explosion