Monday, August 04, 2008

X-Rays from the Cat's Eye Nebula

Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Optical: NASA/STScI

Explanation: Haunting patterns within planetary nebula NGC 6543 readily suggest its popular moniker -- the Cat's Eye nebula. Starting in 1995, stunning false-color optical images from the Hubble Space Telescope detailed the swirls of this glowing nebula, known to be the gaseous shroud expelled from a dying sun-like star about 3,000 light-years from Earth. This composite picture combines the latest Hubble optical image of the Cat's Eye with new x-ray data from the orbiting Chandra Observatory and reveals surprisingly intense x-ray emission indicating the presence of extremely hot gas. X-ray emission is shown as blue-purple hues superimposed on the nebula's center. The nebula's central star itself is clearly immersed in the multimillion degree, x-ray emitting gas. Other pockets of x-ray hot gas seem to be bordered by cooler gas emitting strongly at optical wavelengths, a clear indication that expanding hot gas is sculpting the visible Cat's Eye filaments and structures. Gazing into the Cat's Eye, astronomers see the fate of our sun, destined to enter its own planetary nebula phase of evolution ... in about 5 billion years.

4 comments:

Greg said...

I see Jeebus in that space cloud!! (lol sorry - been too many instances of dimwits seeing Jeebus in anything)

That is a very beautiful picture.

Stardust said...

Did you see at vjack's Atheist Revolution where a family sees Jeebus in their cat's fur? They think out of billions of people on this planet, and all the starving and chaos that they are god's special ones to send a kitty with a photo impression of Jeebus in their cat's fur. And didn't know they had photography back then to show us what Jeebus looked like...if he ever existed. Funny how people see images of those who have never been recorded except from imaginations of other humans. Dimwits!

Yes, this nebula is one of the most beautiful nebula discovered. IMO.

tina FCD said...

Pretty!

Greg said...

LOL - so you saw that video of the cat fur too eh?