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Topic: Nebula

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope observes Fading of Stingray Nebula

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Astronomers have caught a rare look at a rapidly fading shroud of gas around an aging star. Archival data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope reveal that the nebula Hen 3-1357, nicknamed the Stingray nebula, has faded precipitously over just the past two decades. Witnessing such a swift rate of change in a planetary nebula is exceeding rare, say researchers.

Images captured by Hubble in 2016, when compared to Hubble images taken in 1996, show a nebula that has drastically dimmed in brightness and changed shape.

This image compares two drastically different portraits of the Stingray nebula captured by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope 20 years apart. The image on the left, taken with the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 in March 1996, shows the nebula’s central star in the final stages of its life. The gas being puffed off by the dying star is much brighter when compared to the image of the nebula at the right, captured in January 2016 using the Wide Field Camera 3. (NASA, ESA, B. Balick (University of Washington), M. Guerrero (Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía), and G. Ramos-Larios (Universidad de Guadalajara))

This image compares two drastically different portraits of the Stingray nebula captured by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope 20 years apart. The image on the left, taken with the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 in March 1996, shows the nebula’s central star in the final stages of its life. The gas being puffed off by the dying star is much brighter when compared to the image of the nebula at the right, captured in January 2016 using the Wide Field Camera 3. (NASA, ESA, B. Balick (University of Washington), M. Guerrero (Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía), and G. Ramos-Larios (Universidad de Guadalajara))

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NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope discovers large Star Forming Nebula

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The nebula known as W51 is one of the most active star-forming regions in the Milky Way galaxy. First identified in 1958 by radio telescopes, it makes a rich cosmic tapestry in this image from NASA’s recently retired Spitzer Space Telescope.

Located about 17,000 light-years from Earth, in the direction of the constellation Aquila in the night sky, W51 is about 350 light-years – or about 2 quadrillion miles – across. It is almost invisible to telescopes that collect visible light (the kind human eyes detect), because that light is blocked by interstellar dust clouds that lie between W51 and Earth.

The star-forming nebula W51 is one of the largest "star factories" in the Milky Way galaxy. Interstellar dust blocks the visible light emitted by the region, but it is revealed by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, which captures infrared light that can penetrate dust clouds. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The star-forming nebula W51 is one of the largest “star factories” in the Milky Way galaxy. Interstellar dust blocks the visible light emitted by the region, but it is revealed by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, which captures infrared light that can penetrate dust clouds. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s New Horizons Spacecraft data reveals Critical Information about Planetary Formation

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Data from NASA’s New Horizons mission are providing new insights into how planets and planetesimals – the building blocks of the planets – were formed. 

The New Horizons spacecraft flew past the ancient Kuiper Belt object Arrokoth (2014 MU69) on January 1st, 2019, providing humankind’s first close-up look at one of the icy remnants of solar system formation in the vast region beyond the orbit of Neptune.

The uniform color and composition of Arrokoth’s surface shows the Kuiper Belt object formed from a small, uniform, cloud of material in the solar nebula, rather than a mishmash of matter from more separated parts of the nebula. The former supports the idea that Arrokoth formed in a local collapse of a cloud in the solar nebula. (NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/Roman Tkachenko)

The uniform color and composition of Arrokoth’s surface shows the Kuiper Belt object formed from a small, uniform, cloud of material in the solar nebula, rather than a mishmash of matter from more separated parts of the nebula. The former supports the idea that Arrokoth formed in a local collapse of a cloud in the solar nebula. (NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/Roman Tkachenko)

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NASA’s Spitzer Telescope sees a Ghoulish Gourd

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A carved-out cloud of gas and dust looks like a celestial jack-o’-lantern in this image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope.

A massive star – known as an O-type star and about 15 to 20 times heavier than the Sun – is likely responsible for sculpting this cosmic pumpkin. A recent study of the region suggests that the powerful outflow of radiation and particles from the star likely swept the surrounding dust and gas outward, creating deep gouges in this cloud, which is known as a nebula.

This high-contrast image from NASA's Spitzer Space telescope shows a cloud of gas and dust carved out by a massive star. The picture highlights contours in the dust as well as the densest regions of the nebula, which appear brightest. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This high-contrast image from NASA’s Spitzer Space telescope shows a cloud of gas and dust carved out by a massive star. The picture highlights contours in the dust as well as the densest regions of the nebula, which appear brightest. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope takes generational stellar photo

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – In this large celestial mosaic taken by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, there’s a lot to see, including multiple clusters of stars born from the same dense clumps of gas and dust. Some of these clusters are older than others and more evolved, making this a generational stellar portrait.

The grand green-and-orange delta filling most of the image is a faraway nebula, or a cloud of gas and dust in space. Though the cloud may appear to flow from the bright white spot at its tip, it is actually what remains of a much larger cloud that has been carved away by radiation from stars.

A mosaic by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope of the Cepheus C and Cepheus B regions. This image combines data from Spitzer's IRAC and MIPS instruments. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

A mosaic by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope of the Cepheus C and Cepheus B regions. This image combines data from Spitzer’s IRAC and MIPS instruments. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope discovers Butterfly in Space filled with New Born Stars

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – What looks like a red butterfly in space is in reality a nursery for hundreds of baby stars, revealed in this infrared image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope.

Officially named Westerhout 40 (W40), the butterfly is a nebula – a giant cloud of gas and dust in space where new stars may form. The butterfly’s two “wings” are giant bubbles of hot, interstellar gas blowing from the hottest, most massive stars in this region.

Besides being beautiful, W40 exemplifies how the formation of stars results in the destruction of the very clouds that helped create them.

Officially known as W40, this red butterfly in space is a nebula, or a giant cloud of gas and dust. The "wings" of the butterfly are giant bubbles of gas being blown from the inside out by massive stars. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Officially known as W40, this red butterfly in space is a nebula, or a giant cloud of gas and dust. The “wings” of the butterfly are giant bubbles of gas being blown from the inside out by massive stars. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope takes a look at star forming Cat’s Paw Nebula

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – This image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope shows the Cat’s Paw Nebula, so named for the large, round features that create the impression of a feline footprint. The nebula is a star-forming region in the Milky Way galaxy, located in the constellation Scorpius. Estimates of its distance from Earth range from about 4,200 to about 5,500 light-years.

Framed by green clouds, the bright red bubbles are the dominant feature in the image, which was created using data from two of Spitzer’s instruments.

The Cat's Paw Nebula, imaged here by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope using the MIPS and IRAC instruments, is a star-forming region that lies inside the Milky Way Galaxy. New stars may heat up the surrounding gas, which can expand to form "bubbles." (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The Cat’s Paw Nebula, imaged here by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope using the MIPS and IRAC instruments, is a star-forming region that lies inside the Milky Way Galaxy. New stars may heat up the surrounding gas, which can expand to form “bubbles.” (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s NuSTAR Space Telescope data shows Eta Carinae accelerating Cosmic Rays

 

Written by Francis Reddy
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Nashville SoundsGreenbelt, MD – A new study using data from NASA’s NuSTAR space telescope suggests that Eta Carinae, the most luminous and massive stellar system within 10,000 light-years of Earth, is accelerating particles to high energies – some of which may reach our planet as cosmic rays.

“We know the blast waves of exploded stars can accelerate cosmic ray particles to speeds comparable to that of light, an incredible energy boost,” said Kenji Hamaguchi, an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and the lead author of the study. “Similar processes must occur in other extreme environments. Our analysis indicates Eta Carinae is one of them.”

Eta Carinae's great eruption in the 1840s created the billowing Homunculus Nebula, imaged here by Hubble. Now about a light-year long, the expanding cloud contains enough material to make at least 10 copies of our Sun. Astronomers cannot yet explain what caused this eruption. (NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team)

Eta Carinae’s great eruption in the 1840s created the billowing Homunculus Nebula, imaged here by Hubble. Now about a light-year long, the expanding cloud contains enough material to make at least 10 copies of our Sun. Astronomers cannot yet explain what caused this eruption. (NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team)

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NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) captures X-Ray images of Black Holes; Dead Star

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Two new views from NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, showcase the telescope’s talent for spying objects near and far. One image shows the energized remains of a dead star, a structure nicknamed the “Hand of God” after its resemblance to a hand. Another image shows distant black holes buried in blankets of dust.

“NuSTAR’s unique viewpoint, in seeing the highest-energy X-rays, is showing us well-studied objects and regions in a whole new light,” said Fiona Harrison, the mission’s principal investigator at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA.

Can you see the shape of a hand in this new X-ray image? The hand might look like an X-ray from the doctor's office, but it is actually a cloud of material ejected from a star that exploded. NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, has imaged the structure in high-energy X-rays for the first time, shown in blue. Lower-energy X-ray light previously detected by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory is shown in green and red. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/McGill)

Can you see the shape of a hand in this new X-ray image? The hand might look like an X-ray from the doctor’s office, but it is actually a cloud of material ejected from a star that exploded. NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, has imaged the structure in high-energy X-rays for the first time, shown in blue. Lower-energy X-ray light previously detected by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory is shown in green and red. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/McGill)

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NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) sees ‘Witch Head’ Brewing Baby Stars

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A witch appears to be screaming out into space in this new image from NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE.

The infrared portrait shows the Witch Head nebula, named after its resemblance to the profile of a wicked witch. Astronomers say the billowy clouds of the nebula, where baby stars are brewing, are being lit up by massive stars.

An infrared portrait of the Witch Head nebula from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, shows billowy clouds where new stars are brewing. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

An infrared portrait of the Witch Head nebula from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, shows billowy clouds where new stars are brewing. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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