Astronomy Picture of the Day: 02/05/14 – Medusa Nebula

2. 5. 14 by Jaime Trosper
Image Credit: Ken Crawford (Rancho Del Sol Obs.)

As a general rule of thumb, after sun-like stars exhaust the remainder of hydrogen for nuclear fusion (in their core), they grow exponentially larger in size, until they swell up to sizes that exceed their main-sequence diameter hundreds of times over. After which, the cores will contract and shed their outer layers of gas into space, forming what we call a planetary nebula. This is one of the many examples of one.

The Medusa nebula (or Abell 21), as it’s called, is located more than 1,500 light-years from Earth — in the constellation of Gemini. As far as its age is concerned, it’s entering its elderly years. Over the course of the next few thousand years, the intricate gas filaments will disperse throughout the interstellar medium, due in part to ultraviolet radiation bombarding the remnant of the now-defunct star, before disappearing entirely from our sight, leaving behind a small, hot (and very dense) stellar core, known as a white-dwarf.


As a Futurism reader, we invite you join the Singularity Global Community, our parent company’s forum to discuss futuristic science & technology with like-minded people from all over the world. It’s free to join, sign up now!

Share This Article

Keep up.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter to keep in touch with the subjects shaping our future.
I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its User Agreement and Privacy Policy

Advertisement

Copyright ©, Singularity Education Group All Rights Reserved. See our User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with prior written permission of Futurism. Fonts by Typekit and Monotype.