Incredible Hubble Space Telescope Image: The Twin Jet Nebula

A cosmic light show
Science • Views: 61,535

Here’s a brand new image from the Hubble Space Telescope of an amazing cosmic butterfly; the jets of multicolored material you see here are being ejected from the star system at more than one million kilometers per hour.

The cosmic butterfly pictured in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image goes by many names. It is called the Twin Jet Nebula as well as answering to the slightly less poetic name of PN M2-9.

The M in this name refers to Rudolph Minkowski, a German-American astronomer who discovered the nebula in 1947. The PN, meanwhile, refers to the fact that M2-9 is a planetary nebula. The glowing and expanding shells of gas clearly visible in this image represent the final stages of life for an old star of low to intermediate mass. The star has not only ejected its outer layers, but the exposed remnant core is now illuminating these layers — resulting in a spectacular light show. However, the Twin Jet Nebula is not just any planetary nebula, it is a bipolar nebula.

Ordinary planetary nebulae have one star at their center, bipolar nebulae have two, in a binary star system. Astronomers have found that the two stars in this pair each have around the same mass as the sun, ranging from 0.6 to 1.0 solar masses for the smaller star, and from 1.0 to 1.4 solar masses for its larger companion. The larger star is approaching the end of its days and has already ejected its outer layers of gas into space, whereas its partner is further evolved, and is a small white dwarf.

The characteristic shape of the wings of the Twin Jet Nebula is most likely caused by the motion of the two central stars around each other. It is believed that as the dying star and white dwarf orbit around their common center of mass, the ejected gas from the dying star is pulled into two lobes rather than expanding as a uniform sphere. However, astronomers are still debating whether all bipolar nebulae are created by binary stars. Meanwhile the nebula’s wings are still growing and, by measuring their expansion, astronomers have calculated that the nebula was created only 1,200 years ago.

Jump to top

Create a PageThis is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.
Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.
Last updated: 2016-01-01 10:29 am PST
LGF User's Guide RSS Feeds Tweet

Help support Little Green Footballs!

Subscribe now for ad-free access!Register and sign in to a free LGF account before subscribing, and your ad-free access will be automatically enabled.

Donate with
PayPal
Square Cash Shop at amazon
as an LGF Associate!
Recent PagesClick to refresh
Facebook’s Screening for Political Ads Nabs News Sites… One ad couldn’t have been more obviously political. Targeted to people aged 18 and older, it urged them to “vote YES” on June 5 on a ballot proposition to issue bonds for schools in a district near San Francisco. ...
Thanos
1 day, 14 hours ago
Views: 132 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 6 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Stanford Prison Experiment: Why Famous Psychology Studies Are Now Being Torn Apart Sometimes pseudoscience makes it through to the text books, most often in the soft and social sciences. A new exposé based on previously unpublished recordings of Philip Zimbardo, the Stanford psychologist who ran the study, and interviews with his ...
Thanos
3 days, 9 hours ago
Views: 300 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 3
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Goliath Season 2 - Official Trailer In Season 2 of Goliath, Billy McBride takes on a new case, and the fight spills into the streets of Los Angeles and alleys of Venice Beach.Goliath returns 6/15 on Prime Video. » Stream Goliath 6/15 on Prime Video: ...
Thanos
3 days, 22 hours ago
Views: 260 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Wild Nothing - Letting Go "Letting Go" is the first single from Wild Nothing's forthcoming album, 'Indigo', out 08/31/2018 on Captured Tracks. Order here: wildnothing.lnk.to Follow Wild Nothing:wildnothingmusic.comwildnothingct.bandcamp.comfacebook.cominstagram.com@WildNothingopen.spotify.com Lyrics:It's getting hard for me to reframe all those shifting memoriesLike a music box that never ...
Thanos
1 week, 3 days ago
Views: 424 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Third Circuit Nominee Tries to Walk Back Past Comments, Writing Porter appeared before the Judiciary Committee Wednesday despite not receiving the approval of Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa. Under the tradition known as the blue slip, the committee has in the past declined to schedule hearings for nominees who do ...
Thanos
1 week, 3 days ago
Views: 443 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 5 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Wrongfully Influencing a Private Entity’s Employment Decisions by The Executive When Donald Trump makes pro administration or pro republican, or anti democratic party demands, he is breaking the law. I invite those with some familiarity with how this is actually supposed to work to chime in. (a) Whoever, being ...
Unshaken Defiance
2 weeks, 2 days ago
Views: 658 • Comments: 1 • Rating: 9
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Starcrawler - I Love LA Taken from the band's debut album 'Starcrawler', out now on Rough Trade Records: rtrecs.co Director: Autumn de WildeExecutive Producer: Eric SternLine Producer: Jessica CooperDirector of Photography: Tim IvesEditor: Miky WolfVFX Supervisor: Ryan SearsVFX Artist: Agnes GunawanMix: Bob Grenmore (Juice ...
Thanos
2 weeks, 1 day ago
Views: 642 • Comments: 1 • Rating: 2
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Weezer - AfricaStream + download the song: fanlink.to Upcoming tour dates - weezer.com FOLLOW WEEZER Site: weezer.com Facebook: facebook.com Twitter: twitter.com Instagram: instagram.com Spotify: spoti.fi Store: weezerwebstore.com
Thanos
2 weeks, 4 days ago
Views: 1,153 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0