The Hubble Telescope has brought us many amazing and awe inspiring images and discoveries from the vastness of space. This week is no exception as NASA and European Space Agency’s Hubble Telescope has captured in photographic detail the rare explosion of a red giant-the death throes of a star that create a nebula. The Calabash Nebula in this stunning instance.
Located in the Puppis constellation about five thousand light years away, the explosion of this star (which is close to the mass of our own sun) was amazingly caught in great detail. Astronomers say the reason it is so rare to capture visually is because it happens in the “blink of an eye”- relatively, that is.
When a star explodes, what is happening is the rapid transformation from dying star to nebula. It creates a lot of gas, dust, and various space debris, which gets pushed in the opposite direction at astonishing speeds- the yellow gas in the above image is moving at 621,371 miles per hour- I don’t think anyone but the Flash or Quicksilver could outrun that.
This particular nebula has a pretty cool (and stinky) nickname – The Rotten Egg Nebula. This is due in large part to all the sulphur that has been released, which if you’ve ever smelled a gas leak, you know how badly sulphur stinks of rotten eggs, especially when combined with other elements.
Over the next thousand or so years, this fledgling nebula will undergo transformation in to a full planetary nebula. From there, who knows? New life, new planets, superheroes that will save us all? Regardless of what this nebula evolves in to, it’s pretty cool just to see the imagery of the death of a star.
Do you have interest in astronomy and looking at the stars yourself? It’s never too late to start a new, geeky hobby! If you’re looking to start staring at the heavenly bodies in greater detail, you can find a great beginner’s telescope here!