The Bug Nebula, NGC 6302, is one of the brightest and most extreme planetary nebulae known. At its centre lies a superhot dying star smothered in a blanket of ‘hailstones’. A new Hubble image reveals fresh detail in the wings of this ‘cosmic butterfly’.
The Bug Nebula, NGC 6302, is one of the brightest and most extreme planetary nebulae known. At its centre lies a superhot, dying star smothered in a blanket of icy hailstones. A new Hubble image reveals fresh detail in the wings of this cosmic butterfly.
Credits: Credit: ESA/NASA and Albert Zijlstra
This image of the Bug Nebula, taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope (HST), shows impressive walls of compressed gas. A torus (‘doughnut’) shaped mass of dust surrounds the inner nebula (seen at the upper right).
At the heart of the turmoil is one of the hottest stars known. Despite an extremely high temperature of at least 250 000 degrees Celsius, the star itself has never been seen, as it shines most brightly in the ultraviolet and is hidden by the blanket of dust, making it hard to observe.
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