Great Balls of Fire! Hubble Sees Bright Knots Ejected from Brilliant Star

The massive, hot central star is known as a Wolf-Rayet star. This extremely rare and short-lived class of super-hot star is going through a violent, transitional phase characterized by the fierce ejection of mass. The blobs may result from the furious stellar wind that does not flow smoothly into space but has instabilities which make it clumpy. This black and white image was made in the light of atomic hydrogen. The contrast has been increased to emphasize the fine detail in the nebula near the central star.


Yves Grosdidier (University of Montreal and Observatoire de Strasbourg), Anthony Moffat (Universitie de Montreal), Gilles Joncas(Universite Laval), Agnes Acker (Observatoire de Strasbourg), and NASA/ESA

About the Image

NASA press release
NASA caption
Release date:5 November 1998, 15:00
Size:483 x 483 px

About the Object

Name:IRAS 19092+1646, Merill's star, WR 124
Type:Milky Way : Star : Type : Wolf-Rayet
Milky Way : Nebula
Distance:10000 light years

Image Formats

Large JPEG
65.8 KB
Screensize JPEG
139.0 KB


Position (RA):19 11 30.87
Position (Dec):16° 51' 38.25"
Field of view:0.53 x 0.53 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 132.3° left of vertical

Colours & filters

Optical Hubble Space Telescope

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