HUBBLE CAPTURES NGC 6302 IN STUNING DETAIL.
Photo By: NASA ESA Hubble Space Telescope (links below)
This incredible bipolar planetary nebula cataloged as NGC 6302 is located about 3800 light years away in the constellation Scorpius. The violence of this stars dying years is evident as it expels 36,000 deg F material out into the surrounding cosmos at nearly 600,000 miles per hour. The white dwarf star at its center cannot be seen because of a thick ring of dust and gas that surrounds it. That ring of material severely restricts material from flowing out in all directions and funnels it out into the two butterfly wings we see. It’s believed that as the star became a red giant, material near the equator was shed more slowly than the rest of the star creating the disk that now shrouds the white dwarf at its center. The white dwarf star itself is one of the hottest in the galaxy at a scorching temperature of around 400,000 deg F and that great glow of this object is due to the release of massive amounts of ultra violet radiation in a constant, highly dense stream.
NAME: NGC 6302, Caldwell 60, Butterfly Nebula or Bug Nebula.
WHAT IS IT? : Planetary Nebula (dying star).
HOW FAR AWAY IS IT? : 3800 light years.
HOW BIG IS IT? : 2.5 light years long (Half way from the Sun to Alpha Centauri).
APPARENT MAGNITUDE? : 7.1 just beyond naked eye range.
WHERE IS IT? (General): Constellation Scorpius.
WHERE IS IT? (Exact RA/DEC): RA 17h 13m 44s / DEC -37d 06’ 16”
NASA NGC 6302 Page: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hubble/multimedia/ero/ero_ngc6302.html
NASA Hubble Page On NGC 6302: http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album/pr2009025b/
Deep Sky Pedia Page On NGC 6302: http://www.deepskypedia.com/wiki/NGC_6302
Hubble Legacy Archive: http://hla.stsci.edu/