Outer space is one area which still holds mysteries as even in this age of technology, most of it still remains unexplored by human beings. We mostly rely on images from satellites and telescopes to explore outer space. One such new image was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, which shows the bipolar planetary nebula PN M2-9 also known as Twin Jet Nebula. The cosmic object appears similar to a butterfly in shape and color in the photo.
“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” NASA explained about the butterfly-like shape. “It is believed that as the dying star and white orbit dwarf around their common center of mass, the ejected gas from the dying star is pulled into two lobes rather than expanding as a uniform sphere.”
Based on the expansions of the ‘wings’ of the butterfly spaced nebula, astronomers have concluded its age to be near 1200 years and its wings are still growing as the stars continue spinning around one another at a pace of once every 100 years.
“This rotation not only creates the wings of the butterfly and the two jets’ it also allows the white dwarf to strip the gas from its larger companion, which then forms a large disc of material around the stars, extending out as far as 15 times the orbit of Pluto” NASA reported.
The Hubble Space Telescope is jointly operated by America’s NASA and European Space Agency. The telescope began its mission in 1990 providing far-way views of new cosmic objects. The telescope has been serviced five times since its launch. Scientists are still making new discoveries daily from studying the images it sends home.
Watch the videos from the below links:
- Panning across the Twin Jet Nebula
- Zooming in on the Twin Jet Nebula
- Hubblecast 86: The wings of the Twin Jet Nebula