The Calabash clash

The Calabash Nebula, pictured here — which has the technical name OH 231.8+04.2 — is a spectacular example of the death of a low-mass star like the Sun. This image taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows the star going through a rapid transformation from a red giant to a planetary nebula, during which it blows its outer layers of gas and dust out into the surrounding space. The recently ejected material is spat out in opposite directions with immense speed — the gas shown in yellow is moving close to a million kilometres an hour.

Astronomers rarely capture a star in this phase of its evolution because it occurs within the blink of an eye — in astronomical terms. Over the next thousand years the nebula is expected to evolve into a fully fledged planetary nebula.

The nebula is also known as the Rotten Egg Nebula because it contains a lot of sulphur, an element that, when combined with other elements, smells like a rotten egg — but luckily, it resides over 5000 light-years away in the constellation of Puppis (The Poop deck).

Credit:

ESA/Hubble & NASA

Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt

About the Image

Id:potw1705a
Type:Observation
Release date:30 January 2017, 06:00
Size:782 x 718 px

About the Object

Name:Calabash Nebula, OH 231.84 +4.22
Type:Milky Way : Nebula : Type : Planetary
Distance:5000 light years
Constellation:Puppis
Category:Nebulae

Image Formats

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Coordinates

Position (RA):7 42 16.61
Position (Dec):-14° 42' 58.66"
Field of view:1.17 x 1.08 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 45.9° left of vertical

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Optical
H-Alpha
656 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC2
Optical
V
606 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Optical
V
657 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFPC2
Optical
N II
658 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFPC2
Optical
i
791 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFPC2
Infrared
H
1.6 μm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Infrared
Fe II -continuum
1.668 μm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Infrared
J
1.15 μm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Infrared
Fe II
1.646 μm Hubble Space Telescope
WFPC2

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