Sunday, November 24, 2013

Astronomy Picture of the day; 11/24/13 - NGC 7027

It"s absolutely fascinating to me that nebulae that form in the same fashion (also from the same general size and type of star) can create structures that look absolutely nothing alike. This is a great example of such, a planetary nebula, located approximately 3,000 light-years from Earth (in the Cygnus constellation). These nebulae form after sun-like stars exhaust their supply of hydrogen found in their core, causing the stars to balloon in size whilst the process of helium consumption begins. Throughout this process, the outer-layers of material peel off (similar to an onion), forming a planetary nebula (a fate our sun will experience eventually.).

Sources & Additional Reading:

Image by Arnie Rosner (Additional Credit: W. B. Latter (SIRTF /Caltech) et al., NICMOS, HST, NASA)

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