Looking like a piece of cosmic workout equipment, the “Dumbbell Nebula,” also known as M27, pumps out infrared light in this image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. Discovered in 1764, Charles Messier included it as the 27th member of his famous catalog of nebulous objects. Though he did not know this at the time, it was the first of a class of objects now known as “planetary nebulae” to make it into the catalog.

Planetary nebulae, historically named for their resemblance to gas-giant planets, are now known to be the remains of stars that once looked a lot like our sun. When sun-like stars die, they puff out their outer gaseous layers. These layers are heated by the hot core of the dead star, called a white dwarf, and shine with infrared and visible-light colors. Our own sun will blossom into a planetary nebula when it dies in about five billion years.

At a distance of about 1,360 light years, the full extent of this stellar remnant is over 4.5 light years across. That would more that fill the space between our Sun and the nearest star, and it demonstrates how effective planetary nebulae are at returning much of a star’s material back to interstellar space at the end of its life. 

Spitzer’s infrared view shows a different side of this recycled stellar material. “It is interesting how different Spitzer’s view of the Dumbbell looks compared to optical images,” comments Dr. Joseph Hora of the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. “The diffuse green glow, which is brightest near the center, is probably showing us hot gas atoms being heated by the ultraviolet light from the central white dwarf.”

A collection of clumps fill the bright part of the optical nebula, and red-colored radial spokes extend well beyond. Astronomers believe these features represent molecules of hydrogen gas, mixed with traces of heavier elements. Despite being broken apart by the ultraviolet light from the central white dwarf, much of this molecular material ma

Looking like a piece of cosmic workout equipment, the “Dumbbell Nebula,” also known as M27, pumps out infrared light in this image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. Discovered in 1764, Charles Messier included it as the 27th member of his famous catalog of nebulous objects. Though he did not know this at the time, it was the first of a class of objects now known as “planetary nebulae” to make it into the catalog. Planetary nebulae, historically named for their resemblance to gas-giant planets, are now known to be the remains of stars that once looked a lot like our sun. When sun-like stars die, they puff out their outer gaseous layers. These layers are heated by the hot core of the dead star, called a white dwarf, and shine with infrared and visible-light colors. Our own sun will blossom into a planetary nebula when it dies in about five billion years. At a distance of about 1,360 light years, the full extent of this stellar remnant is over 4.5 light years across. That would more that fill the space between our Sun and the nearest star, and it demonstrates how effective planetary nebulae are at returning much of a star’s material back to interstellar space at the end of its life. Spitzer’s infrared view shows a different side of this recycled stellar material. “It is interesting how different Spitzer’s view of the Dumbbell looks compared to optical images,” comments Dr. Joseph Hora of the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. “The diffuse green glow, which is brightest near the center, is probably showing us hot gas atoms being heated by the ultraviolet light from the central white dwarf.” A collection of clumps fill the bright part of the optical nebula, and red-colored radial spokes extend well beyond. Astronomers believe these features represent molecules of hydrogen gas, mixed with traces of heavier elements. Despite being broken apart by the ultraviolet light from the central white dwarf, much of this molecular material ma.

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Within the first billion years of Earth’s history, life appeared in the oceans and began to affect the Earth’s atmosphere and surface, leading to the proliferation of anaerobic and, later, aerobic organisms. Some geological evidence indicates that life may have arisen as early as 4. 1 billion years ago. Since then, the combination of Earth’s distance […]

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On the planet Mars, there existed a race of anthropomorphic mice who enjoyed motorsports and had a very similar culture and society to that of human beings. At some point in time they were all but wiped out by the Plutarkians, an alien race of obese, foul-smelling, worms-eating, fish-like humanoids who plunder other planets’ natural […]

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Biker Mice From Mars Harley 2006

On the planet Mars, there existed a race of anthropomorphic mice who enjoyed motorsports and had a very similar culture and society to that of human beings. At some point in time they were all but wiped out by the Plutarkians, an alien race of obese, foul-smelling, worms-eating, fish-like humanoids who plunder other planets’ natural […]

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FILE - In this July 20, 1969 file photo, astronaut Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin Jr. stands next to a U.S. flag planted on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. Aldrin and Neil Armstrong were the first men to walk on the lunar surface. During a ceremony in Melbourne, Fla. on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015, Aldrin announced he is teaming up with the Florida Institute of Technology to develop "a master plan" for colonizing Mars within 25 years. (Neil A. Armstrong/NASA via AP)

FILE - In this July 20, 1969 file photo, astronaut Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin Jr. stands next to a U.S. flag planted on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. Aldrin and Neil Armstrong were the first men to walk on the lunar surface. During a ceremony in Melbourne, Fla. on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015, Aldrin announced he is teaming up with the Florida Institute of Technology to develop "a master plan" for colonizing Mars within 25 years. (Neil A. Armstrong/NASA via AP).

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NASA Budget Graph 2019 nasa39s share of federal spending graph 1957 2019 not so Graph NASA Budget 2019.

NASA Budget Graph 2019

The perceived national security threat posed by early Soviet leads in spaceflight drove NASA’s budget to its peak, both in real inflation-adjusted dollars and in a percentage of the total federal budget (4. 41% in 1966). But the U. S. victory in the Space Race — landing men on the Moon — erased the perceived […]

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A black hole is a region of spacetime exhibiting gravitational acceleration so strong that nothing—no particles or even electromagnetic radiation such as light—can escape from it. The theory of general relativity predicts that a sufficiently compact mass can deform spacetime to form a black hole. The boundary of the region from which no escape is […]

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