Skip to comments.Astronomy Picture of the Day -- M2-9: Wings of a Butterfly Nebula
Posted on 09/14/2013 9:25:16 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
Explanation: Are stars better appreciated for their art after they die? Actually, stars usually create their most artistic displays as they die. In the case of low-mass stars like our Sun and M2-9 pictured above, the stars transform themselves from normal stars to white dwarfs by casting off their outer gaseous envelopes. The expended gas frequently forms an impressive display called a planetary nebula that fades gradually over thousand of years. M2-9, a butterfly planetary nebula 2100 light-years away shown in representative colors, has wings that tell a strange but incomplete tale. In the center, two stars orbit inside a gaseous disk 10 times the orbit of Pluto. The expelled envelope of the dying star breaks out from the disk creating the bipolar appearance. Much remains unknown about the physical processes that cause planetary nebulae.
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Looks like two manatees kissing...
Almighty God, thank You for these wonders of Your Universe, and thank You for granting us humans the right to pursue observing and learning about all that You have created.I'm sure my breath will come back some day....
Not totally symmetrical, but close enough to be weirdly symmetrical in nature.
I think Captain Kirk might be trapped in that thing.
Everyone imagines having starships to fight Darth Vader, or do Star Trek explorations or trade missions.
What about sheer beauty?
What about getting into a starship and warping out to the perfect distance from, for example, this staggeringly beautiful M2-9 Butterfly planetary nebula and... having a nice glass of wine and a delicious meal with friends while looking at it through a giant window that fills a whole side of the ship?
And then do a different one next week, or tommorrow, or whatever...
Actually, it looks like two condom-cloaked tallywhackers attempting docking maneuvers (despite being technically impossible).
Most awesome SC!
The ‘mackerel sky’ appearance in the gas envelop, interesting, and beautiful.
It’s two Q’s mating ....
Classic electromagnetic phenomena in space and in spades! Z-pinch and double-sheeth, Birkeland currents.