NGC 6302 – The Bug Nebula

This shot of NGC 6302 was taken last week and showes what an unusual object it is. Atmospheric conditions were not that great when the shot was taken, but it gives you an idea what this nebula looks like.

NGC 6302 is known as the Bug Nebula as well as the Butterfly Nebula. Looking at the picture below, this nebula looks more like a bug. However, closeup images show it to resemble more of a butterfly.

The central star in this nebula is in the process of dying and was once 5 times larger than our own Sun. The nebula is only about a thousand years old and will probably only exist for a couple thousand more years at which stage the central star will become a white dwarf.

Though you can’t see the central star, you can see the gas cloud being ejected by the star. The glow that you see in the nebula’s gas cloud is a result of ultraviolet radiation being thrown out by the star.

Picture Taken 25th September 2010 (Click to Enlarge)

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~ by sydneystargazers on September 30, 2010.

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