NGC 6302: The Butterfly Nebula - NASA Astronomy picture of the day
Explanation: The bright clusters and nebulae of planet Earth's
night sky are often named for flowers or insects. Though its wingspan
covers over 3 light-years, NGC 6302 is no exception.
With an estimated surface temperature of about 250,000 degrees C, the
dying central star of this particular planetary nebula has become
exceptionally hot, shining brightly in ultraviolet light but hidden from
direct view by a dense torus of dust.
This sharp and colorful close-up of the dying star's nebula was recorded
in 2009 by the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Camera 3, installed
during the final shuttle servicing mission. Cutting across a bright
cavity of ionized gas, the dust torus surrounding the central star is
near the center of this view, almost edge-on to the line-of-sight.
Molecular hydrogen has been detected in the hot star's dusty cosmic
shroud. NGC 6302 lies about 4,000 light-years away in the
arachnologically correct constellation of the Scorpion (Scorpius). - NASA
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Thanks to: http://www.transients.info