News Home, where you will find the "Current Top Stories"The Communication Center contains current news briefs from major Universities, NASA, ESA, and the top three Aviation Mfg.Science section contains all the latest knowledge in Medical Research, Archeology, Biology, and other General Science NewsCurrent Earth Science and Environmental discoveries.The E.A.R., Environmental Awareness Report. E.A.R. will keep you advised of Environmental Alerts, Government, University, and public projects. All the current space discoveries from Hubble, Spitzer, Chandra X-Ray, ESO, Gemini, Subaru, ESA, NASA, and many more. The latest in space theories from leading astronomers and scientist from around the world.The Space Weather Forecast Center by Scientific Frontline, Current up-to-date space weather, forecasts, alerts and warnings. Images from SOHO, GOES, and STEREO. Plus solar observations from Erika RixCurrent space missions newsThe Cassini Main Page. Containing all the latest news from the Cassini Spacecraft around Saturn. Leading into Cassini status reports, The Cassini Gallery of all the latest images from Cassini. Seeing Saturn and all her moons like never before.Daily Sky maps, Celestial Events Calendar.The Stellar Nights  Gallery, An amateur astronomical collection from John Crilly, Richard Handy, Erika Rix, and Paul RixCloudy Nights Telescope Reviews / An Atronomical Community.The latest in Computer, Nanotechnology, and General Technological advancements.The latest in Aviation achievements in civil, military, and space aviationGlobal News Videos, a different kind of news covarage that often overlooked.The news archive from Scientific Frontline's past articles. A world of knowledge at your fingertips.Abstracts, Journals, and Technical papers maintained by Scientific Frontline. The Gateway to all the galleries in the Scientific Frontline collectionSea Shepherd Org. Help save the whales!Research Department | Staff and Researchers OnlySite Related links from major universities, government and private research labs.Assorted Downloads related to space, science, aviation, including screensavers and ASTROMONY SOFTWARE, and other endorsed programs.Scientific Frontline Forum | HypercubeThe foundation of an online publication by SFL ORG. News Network called Scientific FrontlineContact page to Scientific Frontline / SFL ORG. News NetworkDisclaimer / Legal Notice for use of the SFL ORG. News Network's publication Scientific Frontline
 
Previous Photo Next Photo
Herschel
Hubble Space Telescope
Fermi GRST
Spitzer Space Telescope
European Southern Observatories
James Webb Space Telescope
Gemini
Chandra X-Ray
WISE
Video Specials
Galaxy Evolution Explorer
Other Observatories

The Helix Nebula
Feb. 25, 2009

The Helix Nebula
Feb. 25, 2009
Title : Into the Eye of the Helix
Description :

A deep new image of the magnificent Helix planetary nebula has been obtained using the Wide Field Imager at ESO's La Silla Observatory. The image shows a rich background of distant galaxies, usually not seen in other images of this object.

The Helix Nebula, NGC 7293, lies about 700 light-years away in the constellation of Aquarius (the Water Bearer). It is one of the closest and most spectacular examples of a planetary nebula. These exotic objects have nothing to do with planets, but are the final blooming of Sun-like stars before their retirement as white dwarfs. Shells of gas are blown off from a star’s surface, often in intricate and beautiful patterns, and shine under the harsh ultraviolet radiation from the faint, but very hot, central star. The main ring of the Helix Nebula is about two light-years across or half the distance between the Sun and its closest stellar neighbor.

Despite being photographically very spectacular the Helix is hard to see visually as its light is thinly spread over a large area of sky and the history of its discovery is rather obscure. It first appears in a list of new objects compiled by the German astronomer Karl Ludwig Harding in 1824. The name Helix comes from the rough corkscrew shape seen in the earlier photographs.

Although the Helix looks very much like a doughnut, studies have shown that it possibly consists of at least two separate discs with outer rings and filaments. The brighter inner disc seems to be expanding at about 100 000 km/h and to have taken about 12 000 years to have formed.

Because the Helix is relatively close — it covers an area of the sky about a quarter of the full Moon — it can be studied in much greater detail than most other planetary nebulae and has been found to have an unexpected and complex structure. All around the inside of the ring are small blobs, known as “commentary knots”, with faint tails extending away from the central star. They look remarkably like droplets of liquid running down a sheet of glass. Although they look tiny, each knot is about as large as our Solar System. These knots have been extensively studied, both with the ESO Very Large Telescope and with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, but remain only partially understood. A careful look at the central part of this object reveals not only the knots, but also many remote galaxies seen right through the thinly spread glowing gas. Some of these seem to be gathered in separate galaxy groups scattered over various parts of the image.

Image Caption: This color-composite image of the Helix Nebula (NGC 7293) was created from images obtained using the Wide Field Imager (WFI), an astronomical camera attached to the 2.2-meter Max-Planck Society/ESO telescope at the La Silla observatory in Chile. The blue-green glow in the center of the Helix comes from oxygen atoms shining under effects of the intense ultraviolet radiation of the 120 000 degree Celsius central star and the hot gas. Further out from the star and beyond the ring of knots, the red color from hydrogen and nitrogen is more prominent. A careful look at the central part of this object reveals not only the knots, but also many remote galaxies seen right through the thinly spread glowing gas.

This image was created from images through blue, green and red filters and the total exposure times were 12 minutes, 9 minutes and 7 minutes respectively.

See Related Video: http://www.sflorg.com/observatories/eso_multimedia/flveso_06_01


Date : Feb. 25, 2009
Credit : ESO
Source : ESO
File Type : JPG
File Size : 58.8MB


Powered by Gallery v1 RSS


© 2005-2010 SFL ORG. Educational News Network


Copyright Notice
The Images and Video's in the gallery pages may be protected by copyright. You may download one copy for non-commercial personal use to be displayed on your personal computer. Use other then non-commercial requires that you obtain permission if copyrighted from the copyright holder. See disclaimer page for more detail. We will help direct you to the proper source if you are unsure of copyright holder or your usage. Please always state proper source / credit.




Scientific Frontline®, Stellar Nights®, E.A.R.®, and Environmental Awareness Report®”
Are Registered Trademarks of the
Online Publication of the SFL ORG. Educational News Network
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma USA
A Not-for-Profit Educational News Service
© 2005 - 2012 All Rights Reserved


Home | Comm. Center | Space Weather Center | Galleries | About Us | FAQ | Site Map | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service