The bright clusters and nebulae of planet Earth's night sky are often
named for flowers or
Though its wingspan covers over 3 light-years,
NGC 6302 is no
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.
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
Cutting across a bright cavity of ionized gas, the dust
surrounding the central star is near
the center of this view, almost edge-on to the line-of-sight.
detected in the hot star's dusty cosmic shroud.
NGC 6302 lies about 4,000 light-years away in the
correct constellation of the Scorpion
ESA, and the
Hubble SM4 ERO Team