Photographs just shown show an interstellar phenomenon flying its ethereal wings with wonderful detail. The spectacular display comes from a very symmetrical gas nebula known as NGC 2899.
The image was captured as part of the Southern European Observatory’s (ESO) Cosmic Gems program, for public education and awareness purposes.
Loaded into deep space by ESO’s Very Large Telescope, astronomers have enjoyed the view of a huge flaming gas bubble, in an almost symmetrical butterfly-like shape, between 3,000 and 6,500 light-years away. away from Earth.
Although the nebula was discovered by British astronomer John Herschel in 1835, no one had seen it at such a high resolution before.
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Butterfly surfaces reach nearly 19 trillion kilometers, or two light years. It is also incredibly hot, as the hydrogen and oxygen that make up its ‘body’ are heated to about 10,000 degrees Celsius (twice as hot as the Sun) thanks to two stars in its center, which are thought to be give it its symmetrical appearance.
The NGC 2899 can only be seen from the southern hemisphere, and only through a powerful telescope – well known as the Very Large Telescope – conveniently located in Chile.
Its four 8.2-meter telescopes have discovered several images of deep space objects, such as the first known interstellar asteroid and light from a gravitational wave source, among others.
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