Moving Across the Veil Nebula

This 3-D visualization flies across a small part of the Veil Nebula. It was created using data from the Hubble Space Telescope. It covers part of a the expanding remnant from a star that exploded thousands of years ago, highlighting the emissions from different chemical elements in different layers of gas within the nebula. Emissions from hydrogen, sulfur, and oxygen are shown in red, green, and blue, respectively.

Video Credit: NASA / ESA / and Viz 3D Team, STScI (F. Summers, G. Bacon, Z. Levay, and L. Frattare)

A Lopsided Galaxy

A galactic maelstromThis is Messier 96, a spiral galaxy a bit more than 35 million light-years away in the constellation of Leo (The Lion). It is roughly the same mass and size as the Milky Way, but unlike our more or less symmetrical galaxy, M96 is lopsided. Its dust and gas are unevenly spread throughout its weak spiral arms, and its core is not exactly at the apparent galactic center. Its arms are also asymmetrical, perhaps because of the gravitational pull of other galaxies within the same group as Messier 96.

Image Credit: ESA / NASA

The Twin Jet Nebula

The Twin Jet NebulaThis cosmic butterfly is called the Twin Jet Nebula. It’s a planetary nebula but not just any planetary nebula—it’s a bipolar nebula.

An ordinary planetary nebulae have one star at its center. A bipolar nebulae has a binary star system. The wings of the Twin Jet Nebula are thought to be caused by the motion of its two central stars around each other. As the dying main star and its white dwarf companion orbit around their common center of mass, the ejected gas from the dying star is pulled into the two lobes. The two stars at the heart of the nebula circle one another about every 100 years. This rotation not only forms the wings of the butterfly and the two jets, it also allows the white dwarf to strip gas from its larger companion which then forms a large disc of material around the stars extending out for billions of kilometers, up to 15 times the orbit of Pluto. Even though that disk is of huuge, it is still too small to be seen on the image taken by Hubble.

Image Credit: ESA / NASA