Boomerang Nebula

boomerang_nebulaHere’s another image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. This reflecting cloud of dust and gas has two nearly symmetric cones of matter that are being ejected from it’s central star. Nearly one and a half times the mass of our Sun has been lost by the central star of the Boomerang Nebula in a bipolar outflow over the past 1,500 years. It doesn’t look much like a boomerang in this picture; the nebula’s name is derived from its symmetric structure as seen with ground-based telescopes. Hubble‘s sharper view resolves patterns and ripples in the nebula very close to the central star that are not visible from the ground.

The Boomerang Nebula is about 5,000 light-years from Earth in the direction of the Southern constellation Centaurus. Measurements show that most of the nebula has a temperature roughly the same as liquid helium in a vacuum or about 1 K (-272 °C), making it one of the coldest naturally occurring objects.

Image Credit: NASA

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