Nearby planetary nebula NGC 5189 and its bright gaseous nebula resembles a holiday ornament with a glowing ribbon - so it is perfect for a new Hubble image during the Christmas season.
Planetary nebulae represent the final brief stage in the life of a medium-sized star. While consuming the last of the fuel in its core, the dying star expels a large portion of its outer envelope and this material then becomes heated by the radiation from the stellar remnant and radiates, producing glowing clouds of gas that can show complex structures, as the ejection of mass from the star is uneven in both time and direction.
The bluish lobes of NGC 5189 show its knotty and filamentary structure. As a result of the mass-loss process, the planetary nebula has been created with two nested structures, tilted with respect to each other, that expand away from the center in different directions.
This double bipolar or quadrupolar structure could be explained by the presence of a binary companion orbiting the central star and influencing the pattern of mass ejection during its nebula-producing death throes. The remnant of the central star, having lost much of its mass, now lives its final days as a white dwarf. However, there is no visual candidate for the possible companion.
Credit: Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI)
The bright golden ring that twists and tilts through the image is made up of a large collection of radial filaments and cometary knots. These are usually formed by the combined action of photo-ionizing radiation and stellar winds.
This image was taken with Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 on October 8, 2012, in filters tuned to the specific colors of fluorescing sulfur, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. Broad filters in the visible and near-infrared were used to capture the star colors.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Neil Tyson On The Politics Of Science Denial
- Corals: Not So Passive, They Are Nature's Tiny Engineers
- Global 'Roadmap' Shows Where To Put Roads Without Costing The Earth
- Mutating Ebola Viruses Not As Scary As Evolving Ones
- Raloxifene: X-Ray Scattering Reveals A New Mode Of Action For Osteoporosis Drug
- Low Carb Vs. Low Fat Diets: Which Is Better?
- How The Higgs Became The Target Of Run 2 At The Tevatron
- "No, it isn't. 20% of Americans and double that of rich white women are not gluten anything, much..."
- "Hank-- It is true that fad dieters are (extremely) annoying and misinformed. It is also true that..."
- "You're right, people are too variable to say for sure but a large enough sample can inform how..."
- "Not taking a position on potential bias/non-bias, I find it difficult to believe that ANY simulation..."
- "I think science media, especially the bloggers have become more cynical with age. I should..."
- UO-Berkeley Lab unveil new nano-sized synthetic scaffolding technique
- Microphysiological systems will revolutionize experimental biology and medicine
- An uphill climb for mountain species?
- Sabotage as therapy: Aiming lupus antibodies at vulnerable cancer cells
- Seatbelt laws encourage obese drivers to buckle up