HUBBLE PULLS DETAIL FROM A BRIGHT PLANETARY NEBULA.
Photo By: NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, Hubble Legacy Archive and processed by Delio Tolivia Cadrecha (Links below).
With an integrated visual magnitude of about +10.4, NGC 7027 is one of the brighter planetary nebula in the night sky. Even though this nebula was discovered in 1878 by French astronomer, Edouard Stephan it’s never been given a clever name like some of the other more well defined objects we have come to know and love. In fact, NASA would like you to contact them with your ideas (See the top link below)!
This planetary nebula is about 3 solar masses while the left over central star is now about 0.7 solar masses and it began going through its dying, expansion phase approximately 600 years ago. If you peer through your telescope in the direction of the constellation Cygnus (The Swan) you will see this beautiful planetary very well (I have added the actual coordinates below). The dim central white dwarf is still believed to be an incredibly hot 185,000 kelvin and is pumping out the energy of 5000 suns; the majority of the energy is ultraviolet radiation emanating from the now exposed inner layers of the star. These emissions are ionizing any atoms within its reach causing the entire expansion to glow brightly.
All together now….”Thank You Hubble” because once again the iconic eye in orbit has resolved this object (1996, 1998 & 2013) and has come up with some terrific detail. It appears that during its red giant phase, the star puffed out shells of material. We see evidence of that in the circular shells of material at the objects perimeter. When these shells escape and expand, they quickly reach out past what would be the orbit of Pluto. As stated above, the UV radiation from the now exposed white dwarf is driving the glow; however it is also driving the expansion of the entire structure as its winds reach speeds of 43,000 mph. Over a short thousand years or so (By short I mean cosmically) this phase of the death of this star will progress and much of the stars material we see (Carbon, hydrogen, helium, cyanide, sodium chloride etc.) will have its very atoms ionized thus the molecules destroyed.
NAME: NGC 7027.
WHAT IS IT?: Planetary Nebula.
HOW FAR AWAY IS IT?: Approximately 2900 light years distant.
HOW BIG IS IT?: Approximately 14” (Arcseconds) on the night sky and roughly 0.2 light years in diameter which is pretty small.
MAGNITUDE?: Integrated Visual Magnitude of +10.4 which is pretty bright.
WHERE IS IT? (General): Constellation Cygnus the Swan, about 5.5 degrees southeast of the star Deneb.
WHERE IS IT? (Exact RA/DEC J2000): RA 21h 7m 1.7s / DEC +42° 14′ 11″.
APOD Starship Asterisk (Submit your name ideas here): http://asterisk.apod.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=31990
NASA APOD page for this photo: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap130826.html
SkyHound page for this object: http://observing.skyhound.com/archives/aug1/NGC_7027.html
SIMBAD data for this object: http://simbad.u-strasbg.fr/simbad/sim-id?Ident=NGC++7027
Hubblesite page for this object: http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/1998/11/image/e/
DeepSkyPedia page for this object: http://www.deepskypedia.com/wiki/NGC_7027
Martin Germano astrophoto site for this object: http://martingermano.com/N7027.htm