Astronomy Picture of the Day

NGC 6164: A Bipolar Emission Nebula

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#88435 by @ 07.06.2006 00:00 - nach oben -
NGC 6164: A Bipolar Emission Nebula

How did a star form this beautiful nebula?

In the middle of
emission nebula
NGC 6164-5 is an unusually massive star nearing the end of its life.

The star, visible in the center of the
above image and catalogued as HD 148937,
is so hot that the ultraviolet light
it emits heats up gas that surrounds it.

That gas was likely thrown off from the star, possibly by its fast rotation, like a
rotating lawn sprinkler.

Expelled material might have been further channeled by the
magnetic field of the star, creating the
symmetric shape of the
bipolar nebula.

Several cometary knots of gas are also visible on the lower left.

NGC 6164-5 spans about four
light years
and is located about 4,000 light years away toward the southern constellation

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