Central star in Bug Nebula found

An elusive, very hot star at the centre of one of the most well-known and spectacular planetary nebulae has been directly detected. Using the brand-new Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) in six narrow band filters, researchers from the European Southern Observatory, the University of Manchester and CSIC (Granada, Spain) have located and partially characterized the dying star.

Astronomers estimate that the star, which began its life as few times more massive then the Sun, is now is a little over half the mass of the Sun. After it expelled its outer envelope some 2200 years ago, the star now has an extremely high temperature, anywhere from 200 000 K to 400 000 K — one of the hottest ever detected. It is fading very rapidly and will cool down very slowly to a small and cold white dwarf.

The Bug Nebula (also known as the Butterfly Nebula), or NGC 6302, was one of Hubble's first targets after the observatory was rejuvenated in May 2009.

Credit:

NASA & ESA

About the Image

Id:ann0913a
Type:Observation
Release date:2 December 2009, 10:00
Related announcements:ann0913
Size:1500 x 782 px

About the Object

Name:Bug Nebula, NGC 6302
Type:• Milky Way : Nebula : Type : Planetary
• X - Nebulae Images/Videos
Distance:4000 light years

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Ultraviolet
U
373 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Optical
HeII
469 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Optical
OII
502 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Optical
H-alpha
656 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Optical
NII
658 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Optical
SII
673 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3

Image Formats

Large JPEG
384.0 KB
Screensize JPEG
155.7 KB

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