Nebula Paintings by Alizey Khan
A Planetary Nebula Gallery
This gallery shows four planetary nebulas from the first systematic survey of such objects in the solar neighborhood made with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. The planetary nebulas shown here are NGC 6543, also known as the Cat’s Eye, NGC 7662, NGC 7009 and NGC 6826. In each case, X-ray emission from Chandra is colored purple and optical emission from the Hubble Space Telescope is colored red, green and blue.
Messier 78: A Reflection Nebula in Orion
This new image of the reflection nebula Messier 78 was captured using the Wide Field Imager camera on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory, Chile. This colour picture was created from many monochrome exposures taken through blue, yellow/green and red filters, supplemented by exposures through a filter that isolates light from glowing hydrogen gas. The total exposure times were 9, 9, 17.5 and 15.5 minutes per filter, respectively.
1. Seeing Stars Spin
This gorgeous image required an all-night exposure, made on a night with no moon and clear skies. It was shot on Blackcomb Mountain in British Columbia, Canada.
The photographer, Kim Eijdenberg, told National Geographic’s My Shot, “It’s amazing to think it’s really us who are spinning in relation to the stars.” That’s because the Earth rotates on its axis and revolves around the sun.
2. The Seven Sisters
The Pleiades (the Seven Sisters, or officially M45) is a tight cluster of stars that is visible to the naked eye on dark nights. Here, the group is shown through the wide-field view of the Mosaic camera on the WIYN 0.9-meter telescope on Kitt Peak, Arizona. Blue, green, and red filters were applied.
The cluster of hot, big stars is accented by blue nebulae that are formed as the starlight scatters off dust particles in the interstellar space between the luminous bodies. The stars of Pleiades are considered middle-aged, and they are located in the constellation Taurus. The cluster is among the nearest to Earth.
The Pleiades are known as Subaru in Japan, a name that was adopted by the car company. Many cultures had rich folklore about the star cluster, from the Norse people to the Berbers, Arabs, Hebrews, and of course the Greeks, who called them the Seven Sisters.
3. Dark Nebula
A dark nebula called LDN 810 is visible through the wide-field view of the Mosaic camera on the Mayall 4-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory. The dark part in the center of the image is made up of gas and dust and is a place where new stars are forming. A faint trail of dust and gas extends from the center of the image to the upper-left corner.
The astral feature was first described in 1962 by B.T. Lynds. This image was made with violet, blue, green, and red filters.
4. Lonely Galaxy
Without neighbors, the “lonely” galaxy DDO 190 is relatively small and lacks clear structure, according to NASA.
In this recently released Hubble Space Telescope picture, older, reddish stars dot the edges of the so-called dwarf irregular galaxy. Younger, bluish stars crowd its interior.
(Source: National Geographic)
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Area surrounding the stellar cluster NGC 2467, located in the southern constellation of Puppis (“The Stern”). With an age of a few million years at most, it is a very active stellar nursery, where new stars are born continuously from large clouds of dust and gas. The image, looking like a colourful cosmic ghost or a gigantic celestial Mandrill, contains the open clusters Haffner 18 (centre) and Haffner 19 (middle right: it is located inside the smaller pink region — the lower eye of the Mandrill), as well as vast areas of ionised gas. The bright star at the centre of the largest pink region on the bottom of the image is HD 64315, a massive young star that is helping shaping the structure of the whole nebular region.
Image: ESO [high-resolution]
The Cat’s Paw
The well-named Cat’s Paw Nebula (also known as NGC 6334) lies in the constellation of Scorpius (The Scorpion). Although it appears close to the centre of the Milky Way on the sky, it is relatively near to Earth, at a distance of about 5500 light-years. It is about 50 light-years across and is one of the most active star formation regions in our galaxy, containing massive, young brilliant blue stars, which have formed in the last few million years. It is host to possibly tens of thousands of stars in total, some of them visible and others still hidden in the clouds of gas and dust.
Within the Milky Way by AstroCruise
The Omega Nebula
Three-colour composite image of the Omega Nebula (Messier 17, or NGC 6618), based on images obtained with the EMMI instrument on the ESO 3.58-metre New Technology Telescope at the La Silla Observatory. North is down and East is to the right in the image. It spans an angle equal to about one third the diameter of the Full Moon, corresponding to about 15 light-years at the distance of the Omega Nebula. The three filters used are B (blue), V (“visual”, or green) and R (red).
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope presents a festive holiday greeting that’s out of this world. The bipolar star-forming region, called Sharpless 2-106, looks like a soaring, celestial snow angel. The outstretched “wings” of the nebula record the contrasting imprint of heat and motion against the backdrop of a colder medium.
Sharpless 2-106, Sh2-106 or S106 for short, lies nearly 2,000 light-years from us. The nebula measures several light-years in length. It appears in a relatively isolated region of the Milky Way galaxy. A massive, young star, IRS 4 (Infrared Source 4), is responsible for the furious activity we see in the nebula. Twin lobes of super-hot gas, glowing blue in this image, stretch outward from the central star. This hot gas creates the “wings” of our angel.
A ring of dust and gas orbiting the star acts like a belt, cinching the expanding nebula into an “hourglass” shape. Hubble’s sharp resolution reveals ripples and ridges in the gas as it interacts with the cooler interstellar medium. Dusky red veins surround the blue emission from the nebula. The faint light emanating from the central star reflects off of tiny dust particles. This illuminates the environment around the star, showing darker filaments of dust winding beneath the blue lobes.
Detailed studies of the nebula have also uncovered several hundred brown dwarfs. At purely infrared wavelengths, more than 600 of these sub-stellar objects appear. These “failed” stars weigh less than a tenth of our Sun. Because of their low mass, they cannot produce sustained energy through nuclear fusion like our Sun does. They encompass the nebula in a small cluster. The Hubble images were taken in February 2011 with the Wide Field Camera 3. Visible narrow-band filters that isolate the hydrogen gas were combined with near-infrared filters that show structure in the cooler gas and dust.
Image: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA) [high-resolution]
Dust of the Orion Nebula
What surrounds a hotbed of star formation? In the case of the Orion Nebula — dust. The entire Orion field, located about 1600 light years away, is inundated with intricate and picturesque filaments of dust. Opaque to visible light, dust is created in the outer atmosphere of massive cool stars and expelled by a strong outer wind of particles. The Trapezium and other forming star clusters are embedded in the nebula. The intricate filaments of dust surrounding M42 and M43appear brown in the above image, while central glowing gas is highlighted in red. Over the next few million years much of Orion’s dust will be slowly destroyed by the very stars now being formed, or dispersed into the Galaxy.
Image courtesy T.A. Rector, UAA, and N.S. van der Bliek, NOAO/NSF
If you love unusual star birth, than this is the nebula you’re looking for.
Called Monoceros R2, the interstellar cloud of gas and dust glows deep red in this recently released image due to its abundant ionized hydrogen. The picture was made using data from the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile.
Although this cloud lies close to the Orion nebula, another region of star birth, Monoceros R2 isn’t forming stars at the same rate or of the same heft as its neighbor, and astronomers aren’t sure why.
WISE, the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, took this picture of one of the closest star forming regions, a part of the Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex.