The Witch's Broom Nebula (NGC 6960), in Cygnus, 2400 light-years away, is a striking, young supernova remnant. Its beauty captures scientists and stargazers, offering insights into cosmic evolution.
Pulsars emit deadly radiation, disintegrating DNA and making them dangerous. Surprisingly, some have planets orbiting them, defying current theories.
This month you can witness a supernova with just binoculars or a small telescope. The supernova is called SN 2011fe and has been discovered by astronomers on August 24 within hours of its explosion. It is located within the Messier 101 galaxy 23 million light-years away in the constellation of Ursa Major.
This image was made by combining data from two of NASA's Great Observatories: the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory. The supernova remnant, cataloged as SNR 0509-67.5, is the result of a type Ia supernova. It is located in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a small galaxy about 160,000 light-years from Earth.
This detailed view of the so-called Cat’s Eye Nebula was taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. The nebula, formally cataloged as NGC 6543, was one of the first planetary nebulae to be discovered and is one of the most complex. Observations suggest the star ejected its mass in a series of pulses at 1,500-year intervals. This created dust shells, each of which contain as much mass as all of the planets in our solar system combined. These concentric shells make a layered, onion-skin structure around the dying star. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, HEIC, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
This image, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, shows the colorful demise of a Sun-like star. The star is ending its life by casting off its outer layers of gas, which formed a cocoon around the star’s remaining core. Ultraviolet light from the dying star makes the material glow. The burned-out star, called a white dwarf, is the white dot in the center. It is one of the hottest known white dwarfs, with a surface temperature of nearly 200,000 degrees Celsius. The nebula is called NGC 2440 and lies about 4,000 light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Puppis. Image credit: NASA, ESA, and K. Noll (STScI)
This eerie picture captured by the Spitzer Space Telescope shows the Helix Nebula, also known as NGC 7293. It is located 700 light-years away in the constellation of Aquarius. The two light-year diameter shroud of dust and gas around a central white dwarf is the result of the final stages in the evolution of a sun-like star. Dust particles are what makes this cosmic eye look red. Image Credit & Copyright: NASA, JPL-Caltech, Kate Su (Steward Obs., U. Arizona), et al.
🙂 I hope you all had lots of fun yesterday while celebrating the coming of 2011. Apparently humans weren’t the only ones playing with fireworks… Here is a picture of some cosmic fireworks. This galaxy was nicknamed the “Fireworks Galaxy” for good reason. Over the last century, at least nine supernovae were discovered in that galaxy. By comparison, the average rate for supernovae in the Milky Way is about 1 per century. A supernova can be brighter than whole galaxies for some time after the explosion. That’s some fireworks! This beautiful spiral galaxy, also known as NGC 6946, is located 10 million light-years away in the constellation of Cepheus. It…
This nebula, designated as N 49 or DEM L 190, looks like puffs of smoke or sparks from a fireworks display. It is one of the most distant nebulae ever observed, located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a dwarf galaxy orbiting the Milky Way. The nebula is the result of a large supernova, whose light should have reached Earth a few thousand years ago.