spacer
 
Advanced Search
Astrobiology Magazine Facebook  Astrobiology Magazine Twitter
Dust and the Helix Nebula
12/31/09
Dust makes this cosmic eye look red. The eerie Spitzer Space Telescope image shows infrared radiation from the well-studied Helix Nebula (NGC 7293) a mere 700 light-years away in the constellation Aquarius. The two light-year diameter shroud of dust and gas around a central white dwarf has long been considered an excellent example of a planetary nebula, representing the final stages in the evolution of a sun-like star. But the Spitzer data show the nebula's central star itself is immersed in a surprisingly bright infrared glow. Models suggest the glow is produced by a dust debris disk. Even though the nebular material was ejected from the star many thousands of years ago, the close-in dust could be generated by collisions in a reservoir of objects analogous to our own solar system's Kuiper Belt or cometary Oort cloud. Formed in the distant planetary system, the comet-like bodies would have otherwise survived even the dramatic late stages of the star's evolution. Astronomy Picture of the Day Astronomy Picture of the Day Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2009 December 31 Dust and the Helix Nebula NASA, JPL-Caltech, Kate Su (Steward Obs, U. Arizona) et al.
Dust and the Helix Nebula
Add to My Astro


 

Previous | 1291-1300 | 1301-1310 | 1311-1320 | 1321-1330 | 1331-1340 | 1341-1350 | 1351-1360 | 1361-1370 | 1371-1380 | 1381-1390 | 1391-1400 | Next  

 

 

 

About Us
Contact Us
Links
Sitemap
Podcast Rss Feed
Daily News Story RSS Feed
Latest News Story RSS Feed
Learn more about RSS
Chief Editor & Executive Producer: Helen Matsos
Copyright © 2014, Astrobio.net