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Space butterfly captured by the telescope



A wonderful space butterfly captured by the ESO telescope

Credit: ESO

Similar to a butterfly with its symmetrical structure, beautiful colors, and intricate patterns, this impressive gas bubble – known as NGC 2899 ̵

1; appears to float and shatter across the sky in this new picture from the Very Large ESO Telescope (VLT). This item has never been marked with that striking detail, even with the evil outer edges of the planet’s bright nebula on the background stars.

The vast swathes of NGC 2899 gas extend up to a maximum of two light-years from its center light, shining brightly in front of the Milky Way stars as the gas reaches temperatures above ten thousand degrees. The high temperatures are due to the large amount of radiation from the main star of the nebula, which causes the hydrogen gas in the nebula to enter a red escape around the oxygen gas, in blue.

This object, located between 3000 and 6500 light-years away in the southern constellation of Vela (The Sails), has two central stars, which are thought to give it its almost symmetrical appearance. After one star has reached the end of its life and sheds its outer layers, the other star now interferes with the flow of gas, forming the two-lobed shape seen here. Only about 10 to 20% of the planetary nebula show this type of bipolar shape.

Astronomers were able to capture this highly detailed view of NGC 2899 using the FORS instrument installed on UT1 (Antu), one of the four 8.2-meter telescopes that make up the ESO VLT in Chile. This high resolution instrument was one of the first to be installed on the ESO VLT followed by many beautiful pictures and discoveries from the ESO. FORS contributed to observations of light from a gravitational wave source, researched the first known interstellar asteroid, and was used to study physics in depth after the formation of complex planetary nebulae.





This image was created under the ESO Cosmic Gems program, an awareness-raising initiative to produce images of interesting, intriguing or visually appealing objects using ESO telescopes, for the purposes of education and public awareness. The program makes use of telescope time that cannot be used for science observations. All data collected can also be adapted for scientific purposes, and made available to astronomers through the ESO science archive.


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Citation: Stunning space telescope butterfly (2020, 30 July) retrieved 31 July 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2020-07-stunning-space-butterfly-captured-telescope .html

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