Bipolar planetary nebulae occur when a twin star system lies at the center, forming beautiful wing-like symmetrical lobes. The Hubble team estimates this translucent beauty occurred only 1200 years ago.
The characteristic shape of the wings of the Twin Jet Nebula is most likely caused by the motion of the two central stars around each other. It is believed that a white dwarf orbits its partner star and thus the ejected gas from the dying star is pulled into two lobes rather than expanding as a uniform sphere. However, astronomers are still debating whether all bipolar nebulae are created by binary stars. Meanwhile the nebula’s wings are still growing and, by measuring their expansion, astronomers have calculated that the nebula was created only 1200 years ago. Within the wings, starting from the star system and extending horizontally outwards like veins are two faint blue patches. Although these may seem subtle in comparison to the nebula’s rainbow colours, these are actually violent twin jets streaming out into space, at speeds in excess of one million kilometres per hour. This is a phenomenon that is another consequence of the binary system at the heart of the nebula. These jets slowly change their orientation, precessing across the lobes as they are pulled by the wayward gravity of the binary system.
Below is an example of the precessing jet of M2-9, a planetary nebula.
During the January 2019 total lunar eclipse, astronomers trained the Hubble Telescope on our moon in order to calibrate how future telescopes will look for possible life on exoplanets by measuring ozone levels.
Watch the skies! The peak of the Perseid meteor shower takes place overnight tonight! The bright quarter Moon will limit the number of shooting stars you’ll see but you can still expect around 15-20 per hour depending on where you’re at. The meteors are debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle burning up in Earth’s atmosphere at speeds […]
Piloting a craft through Jupiter’s atmosphere would be very hard due to massive bolts of “shallow lightning” and the equally scary giant “mushballs” of water and ammonia that fall like hail. To celebrate the 9th anniversary of Juno, NASA shared some cool illustrations and a visualization of what it would feel like to fly through […]
Physics may have been that class you sleepwalked your way through in high school. But while it might have just slipped under your radar throughout your academic career, you probably shouldn’t have given it such shallow attention. Sure, we could focus on the immediate pluses of a career as a physicist, like the more than […]
If you’re out of work…well, first, you have our sympathies. Right now, about 31 million Americans are drawing some form of unemployment benefits, which makes competition for virtually any job savagely fierce. But since nobody wants to wallow in the miseries of unemployment, the only legitimate course left open is to scrap like crazy to […]
If you want swole arms cut like tree trunks, you start savaging the curl bars. If you want to sculpt a tight, firm core, you have lots of planking and bridges in your future. So what do you do if you want to knock out that double chin? Or put a little added definition into […]