Astronomy Picture of the Day
    


M2 9: Wings of a Butterfly Nebula
<< Yesterday 13.09.2020 Tomorrow >>
M2 9: Wings of a Butterfly Nebula
Credit & Copyright: Hubble Legacy Archive, NASA, ESA - Processing: Judy Schmidt
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 here, 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 thousands 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 and shape planetary nebulae.

Almost Hyperspace: Random APOD Generator

January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
 < September 2020  >
Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su

123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930



Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Web Site Statements, Warnings, and Disclaimers
NASA Official: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.

Based on Astronomy Picture Of the Day

Publications with keywords: planetary nebula - butterfly nebula
Publications with words: planetary nebula - butterfly nebula
See also:
All publications on this topic >>