The Butterfly Nebula


butterfly_hstThis is NGC 6302 (aka The Butterfly Nebula). It is approximately 4,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Scorpius (the Scorpion). With an estimated surface temperature of about 250,000 °C, the dying central star of this planetary nebula shining brightly in ultraviolet light, but it’s hidden from direct view by a dense doughnut-shaped cloud of dust. This close-up of the nebula was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope‘s Wide Field Camera 3 which was installed during the final shuttle servicing mission. The dust torus (the doughnut) surrounding the central star is near the center of this view, almost edge-on to the line-of-sight. Click on the image to embiggen it.

Image Credit: NASA

The Bug Nebula


Bug nebulaNGC 6302 (aka The Bug Nebula) is one of the brightest planetary nebulae known. It’s about 4,000 light-years away in the constellation Scorpius  (the Scorpion). The nebula is the last gasp of the dying Sun-like star lying at its center. The star itself has never been observed because it is surrounded by a dense disc of gas and dust which blocks visible light. This dense disc is probably the origin of the hourglass structure of the nebula.

Image Credit: ESO

The Butterfly Nebula


butterfly_hstThis is NGC 6302 (aka The Butterfly Nebula). It is approximately 4,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Scorpius (the Scorpion). With an estimated surface temperature of about 250,000 °C, the dying central star of this planetary nebula shining brightly in ultraviolet light, but it’s hidden from direct view by a dense doughnut-shaped cloud of dust. This close-up of the nebula was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope‘s Wide Field Camera 3 which was installed during the final shuttle servicing mission. The dust torus (the doughnut) surrounding the central star is near the center of this view, almost edge-on to the line-of-sight. Click on the image to embiggen it.

Image Credit: NASA