A Bug of Fire and Ice

NGC 6302
The Bug Nebula, NGC 6302, imaged by WFPC2 on the Hubble Space Telescope CREDIT: ESA/NASA and Albert Zijlstra (JBCA).
There is no doubt that modern telescopes produce some spectacular images of astronomical objects. I saw this glorious image of the Bug Nebula (NGC 6302) for the first time today and it looked just like a painting.

Thewhite/blue filaments reaching down from the central star and the orange/red colours remind me of The Ancient of Days by William Blake. The colours and texture also evoke a dramatic Turner sunset. That second comparison is probably quite appropriate as this spacescape shows the later stages of an extremely hot star that has blown off its outer layers to form a nebula of compressed gas, dust and hailstones.

The false-colour image was created using two observations with the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) on the Hubble Space Telescope. One observation looked at the light from hydrogen (the blue in the image) and the other looked at light from ionized nitrogen (the red parts of the image).

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Wednesday 03rd Sep 2008 (20:51 BST) | Permalink
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