Astronomy Picture of the Day

NGC 6302: Big, Bright, Bug Nebula

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#100013 by @ 30.04.2007 00:00 - nach oben -
NGC 6302: Big, Bright, Bug Nebula

The bright clusters and nebulae of planet Earth's night sky are often
named for
flowers or
insects, and
NGC 6302 is no exception.

With an estimated surface temperature of about 250,000 degrees C,
the central star of this particular

planetary nebula is exceptionally
hot though -- shining brightly in ultraviolet light but hidden from
direct view by a dense torus of dust.

Above is a
detailed close-up
of the
star's nebula

recorded by the Hubble Space Telescope.

Cutting across a bright cavity of ionized gas,
the dust torus surrounding the central star is in the upper
right corner of this view, nearly edge-on to the line-of-sight.

Molecular hydrogen
has recently been detected in this hot star's dusty cosmic shroud.

NGC 6302 lies about 4,000 light-years away in the
arachnologically correct constellation

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