Universe

Planetary Nebula Nebulae of our galaxy

Planetary Nebula Nebulae of our galaxy


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This beauty is called "Ring of the South." It is only 2000 light years from Earth and has a diameter of almost half a light year. The gases move away from the central star (the weakest of the couple) at a speed of 15 km per second. It is a star smaller than our sun, but very hot. Its intense ultraviolet radiation produces the fluorescence of the gases in the nebula.

The different colors represent temperatures: warmer blue and colder red. Some filamentous structures are also distinguished: these are carbon-rich dust clouds. Our Sun could expel a planetary nebula similar to this one in about 6 billion years.

Planetary nebulae are called that because many of them resemble planets when viewed through a telescope, although in fact they are layers of material from which an evolved star of medium mass detached during its last stage of evolution of a red giant, before becoming a white dwarf. The Ring nebula, in the constellation Lira, is a typical planetarium that has a rotation period of 132,900 years and a mass of about 14 times the mass of the Sun.

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