vendredi 12 février 2016

Hubble Watches the Icy Blue Wings of Hen 2-437












NASA - Hubble Space Telescope patch.

Feb. 12, 2016


In this cosmic snapshot, the spectacularly symmetrical wings of Hen 2-437 show up in a magnificent icy blue hue. Hen 2-437 is a planetary nebula, one of around 3,000 such objects known to reside within the Milky Way.

Located within the faint northern constellation of Vulpecula (The Fox), Hen 2-437 was first identified in 1946 by Rudolph Minkowski, who later also discovered the famous and equally beautiful M2-9 (otherwise known as the Twin Jet Nebula). Hen 2-437 was added to a catalog of planetary nebula over two decades later by astronomer and NASA astronaut Karl Gordon Henize.

Planetary nebulae such as Hen 2-437 form when an aging low-mass star — such as the sun — reaches the final stages of life. The star swells to become a red giant, before casting off its gaseous outer layers into space. The star itself then slowly shrinks to form a white dwarf, while the expelled gas is slowly compressed and pushed outwards by stellar winds. As shown by its remarkably beautiful appearance, Hen 2-437 is a bipolar nebula — the material ejected by the dying star has streamed out into space to create the two icy blue lobes pictured here.

For images and more information about Hubble, visit:

    http://www.nasa.gov/hubble
    http://hubblesite.org/
    http://www.spacetelescope.org/

Image Credits: ESA (European Space Agency)/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt/Text Credits: ESA/NASA/Rob Garner.

Greetings, Orbiter.ch

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