Imaginea Astronomica a Zilei

Descopera cosmosul! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2010 October 21
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Methuselah Nebula MWP1
Credit & Copyright: Don Goldman

Explicatie: (Edit) The lovely, symmetric planetary nebula cataloged as MWP1 lies some 4,500 light-years away in the northern constellation Cygnus the Swan. One of the largest planetary nebulae known, it spans about 15 light-years. Based on its expansion rate the nebula has an age of 150 thousand years, a cosmic blink of an eye in the 10 billion year life of a sun-like star. But planetary nebulae represent a very brief final phase in stellar evolution, as the nebula's central star shrugs off its outer layers to become a hot white dwarf. In fact, planetary nebulae ordinarily only last for 10 to 20 thousand years. As a result, truly ancient MWP1 offers a beautiful challenge to astronomers studying the evolution of its central star.

Imaginea de maine: monstrous maw


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