Home Technology NASA’s Hubble Telescope Captures Stellar Butterfly Nebula – N.F Times

NASA’s Hubble Telescope Captures Stellar Butterfly Nebula – N.F Times

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NASA’s Hubble Telescope Captures Stellar Butterfly Nebula – N.F Times

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Washington: NASA’s Hubble Telescope has once again captivated space enthusiasts with a stunning image showcasing the “last gasp” of a dying binary star system known as NGC 2346.

This system, classified as a “planetary nebula,” emerges from Sun-like stars that are approaching the final stages of their life cycles.

The image, shared by NASA on Instagram offers a mesmerizing glimpse into NGC 2346, located about 2,000 light-years away in the constellation Monoceros.

Planetary nebulae like this are formed when Sun-like stars reach the final stages of their life cycles and eject their outer layers into space. What makes NGC 2346 particularly fascinating is its central binary star system, where two stars orbit each other in a tight 16-day cycle.

The evolutionary journey of the binary stars is equally intriguing. Initially, the stars were further apart, but as one star evolved into a red giant, it engulfed its companion, leading to a spiralling motion that released gas into a surrounding ring. Subsequent stellar winds inflated two enormous “bubbles,” shaping the nebula into its distinctive butterfly-like appearance. Thus, it is also known as the Butterfly Nebula.

“At the centre of the nebula, NGC 2346 is a pair of stars that are so close together that they orbit around each other every 16 days! This #HubbleClassic shows the “last gasp” of this binary star system as it dies. Located about 2,000 light-years away, NGC 2346 resides in the constellation Monoceros.” NASA said while sharing the image.

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