|Few butterflies have a wingspan this big.
The bright clusters and nebulae of planet Earth's night sky are often
NGC 6302 is no exception.
With an estimated surface temperature of about 250,000 degrees C,
the central star of this particular
planetary nebula is exceptionally
hot though -- shining brightly in ultraviolet light but hidden from
direct view by a dense torus of dust.
dramatically detailed close-up of the dying star's nebula was recorded by the Hubble Space Telescope soon after it was
upgraded in 2009.
Cutting across a bright cavity of ionized gas, the
dust torus surrounding the central star is near
the center of this view, almost edge-on to the line-of-sight.
has been detected in the hot star's dusty cosmic shroud.
NGC 6302 lies about 4,000 light-years away in the
arachnologically correct constellation of the
ESA, and the
Hubble SM4 ERO Team