tagged with: galaxies and stars, stellar winds, btbgneb, butterfly nebula, bug nebula, scorpius constellation, ngc 6302, sculptured gas clouds, outer space, astronomy
Galaxies, Stars and Nebulae series NGC 6302, more popularly called the Bug Nebula or the Butterfly Nebula, lies within our Milky Way galaxy, roughly 3,800 light-years away in the constellation of Scorpius.
The central dying star cannot be seen because it's hidden within a doughnut-shaped ring of dust, which appears as a dark band pinching the nebula in the centre. The thick dust belt constricts the star's outflow, creating the classic "bipolar" or hourglass shape displayed by some planetary nebulae.
The nebula's reddish outer edges are largely due to light emitted by nitrogen, which marks the coolest gas visible in the picture. The white-coloured regions are areas where light is emitted by sulphur. These are regions where fast-moving gas overtakes and collides with slow-moving gas that left the star at an earlier time, producing shock waves in the gas (the bright white edges on the sides facing the central star).
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image code: btbgneb
image credit: NGC 6302 was imaged on 27 July 2009 with Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 in ultraviolet and visible light. Filters that isolate emissions from oxygen, helium, hydrogen, nitrogen and sulphur were used to create this composite image.
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