APOD: The Cat's Eye Nebula from Hubble (2011 Apr 24)

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APOD: The Cat's Eye Nebula from Hubble (2011 Apr 24)

Post by APOD Robot » Sun Apr 24, 2011 4:08 am

Image The Cat's Eye Nebula from Hubble

Explanation: Staring across interstellar space, the alluring Cat's Eye nebula lies three thousand light-years from Earth. A classic planetary nebula, the Cat's Eye (NGC 6543) represents a final, brief yet glorious phase in the life of a sun-like star. This nebula's dying central star may have produced the simple, outer pattern of dusty concentric shells by shrugging off outer layers in a series of regular convulsions. But the formation of the beautiful, more complex inner structures is not well understood. Seen so clearly in this sharp Hubble Space Telescope image, the truly cosmic eye is over half a light-year across. Of course, gazing into the Cat's Eye, astronomers may well be seeing the fate of our sun, destined to enter its own planetary nebula phase of evolution ... in about 5 billion years.

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ThomasWamm

Re: APOD: The Cat's Eye Nebula from Hubble (2011 Apr 24)

Post by ThomasWamm » Sun Apr 24, 2011 4:26 am

Rather than 'concentric shells', it looks like a single spiral.

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Re: APOD: The Cat's Eye Nebula from Hubble (2011 Apr 24)

Post by Beyond » Sun Apr 24, 2011 5:40 am

No matter how it is spelled, it just looks so NICE! It is almost like there is something new being formed in an cosmic egg.
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Re: APOD: The Cat's Eye Nebula from Hubble (2011 Apr 24)

Post by bystander » Sun Apr 24, 2011 7:57 am

Discussion on possessive nouns split to here.
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Re: APOD: The Cat's Eye Nebula from Hubble (2011 Apr 24)

Post by mastrulo » Sun Apr 24, 2011 8:11 am

Hi,

Sadly, your reply has left me wondering why you bothered to reply, as it clearly is the recycled photo from APOD 13-03-2007, with not much contribution to my discussion.
I'm disappointed since there are an exponential number of new photos available from NASA/JPL/ESA/JAXA to name the main sources of new and fresh material.
I always look forward to the next APOD, even have the widget on my desktop, but I'm disappointed that, particularly this year there have been so many old APOD posted.
Thank you for your weird reply in any case, it's time that I thank, as it alone is the key.
Kindest Regards.
Tony Mastrullo.
Last edited by mastrulo on Tue Aug 30, 2011 4:08 am, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Insulting language removed.

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Re: APOD: The Cat's Eye Nebula from Hubble (2011 Apr 24)

Post by owlice » Sun Apr 24, 2011 10:36 am

Tony Mastrullo, regarding "recycled" images, please see Q4 in the APOD FAQ here.

Also, please read the rules, especially rule #4, here.

Thank you.
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Re: APOD: The Cat's Eye Nebula from Hubble (2011 Apr 24)

Post by orin stepanek » Sun Apr 24, 2011 11:32 am

Love this APOD; Very beautiful. 8-)
Last edited by orin stepanek on Tue Aug 30, 2011 4:08 am, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: replaced full size image with screen size image
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Re: APOD: The Cat's Eye Nebula from Hubble (2011 Apr 24)

Post by neufer » Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:55 pm

Art Neuendorffer

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Re: APOD: The Cat's Eye Nebula from Hubble (2011 Apr 24)

Post by biddie67 » Sun Apr 24, 2011 2:00 pm

Absolutely beautiful photograph - so full of mystery - just how could it be???

userrj

Re: APOD: The Cat's Eye Nebula from Hubble (2011 Apr 24)

Post by userrj » Sun Apr 24, 2011 5:25 pm

The outer "rings" could be the "atmosphere" which would be easily pushed out and which would have been more evenly distributed over the surface. The inner irregular shapes could be caused from the fact that the more solid part of the star was of an irregular thickness resulting in an irregular explosive design.

George

Re: APOD: The Cat's Eye Nebula from Hubble (2011 Apr 24)

Post by George » Sun Apr 24, 2011 5:39 pm

A question:
How much difference would one see in images of the "Cat's Eye Nebula" taken a week, month or a year apart?
Or would all the images be 'identical?'

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Re: APOD: The Cat's Eye Nebula from Hubble (2011 Apr 24)

Post by alphachapmtl » Sun Apr 24, 2011 8:08 pm

biddie67 wrote:Absolutely beautiful photograph - so full of mystery - just how could it be???
A turning precessing star shooting jets from it's 2 poles.

islader2

Re: APOD: The Cat's Eye Nebula from Hubble (2011 Apr 24)

Post by islader2 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 2:43 am

Chris P: I admire most of your postings--but I took slight umbrage of your mis-spelling of Arecibo. Today, there is a plethora of useless discussion on apostrophes. This is not place for such trash. I apologize for my faux pas.

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Re: APOD: The Cat's Eye Nebula from Hubble (2011 Apr 24)

Post by Chris Peterson » Mon Apr 25, 2011 2:56 am

islader2 wrote:Chris P: I admire most of your postings--but I took slight umbrage of your mis-spelling of Arecibo. Today, there is a plethora of useless discussion on apostrophes. This is not place for such trash. I apologize for my faux pas.
Thank you. But I didn't misspell Arecibo. I didn't spell it at all, since I haven't used the name in any postings recently. I believe you must be confusing somebody else's post for one of mine.
Chris

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Re: APOD: The Cat's Eye Nebula from Hubble (2011 Apr 24)

Post by Beyond » Mon Apr 25, 2011 3:22 am

It's amazing how fast a collection of faux pas can build up, isn't it? Sometimes they just seem to take on a life of their own :!:
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Re: APOD: The Cat's Eye Nebula from Hubble (2011 Apr 24)

Post by StarCuriousAero » Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:31 pm

islader2 wrote:Chris P: I admire most of your postings--but I took slight umbrage of your mis-spelling of Arecibo. Today, there is a plethora of useless discussion on apostrophes. This is not place for such trash. I apologize for my faux pas.

Mr. Chris P quoted someone else who misspelled Arecibo. It would be incorrect to quote someone and not maintain the original misspellings, that would be giving credit where it isn't deserved.

Needless to say, this is one of my oldest favorite APODs, I'm quite happy they reposted it. Images like this and the ensuing (technical) discussions are what got me interested in APOD several years ago.

I'm very curious to see this image taken over the years as well to see how and if it changes, although it would probably have to be many years of images before we see much of a difference if any (unlike the crab nebula pulsar... another favorite :)

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Re: APOD: The Cat's Eye Nebula from Hubble (2011 Apr 24)

Post by Chris Peterson » Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:04 pm

StarCuriousAero wrote:I'm very curious to see this image taken over the years as well to see how and if it changes, although it would probably have to be many years of images before we see much of a difference if any (unlike the crab nebula pulsar... another favorite :)
The Cat's Eye is expanding at about 10 milliarcseconds per year, so high resolution images do show change over fairly short periods. The change is small compared with the overall size, however.

(It is interesting that the current distance estimate for this object was derived by using the spectroscopic line-of-sight velocity and the observed expansion rate.)
Chris

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Re: APOD: The Cat's Eye Nebula from Hubble (2011 Apr 24)

Post by neufer » Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:22 pm

StarCuriousAero wrote:
islader2 wrote:
Chris P: I admire most of your postings--but I took slight umbrage of your mis-spelling of Arecibo.
Mr. Chris P quoted someone else who misspelled Arecibo:
BMAONE23 wrote:
It would be interesting to make an optical telescope with a primary mirror the size of a lunar crater similar to the Radio Telescope at Aricebo.
It would be incorrect to quote someone and not maintain the original misspellings, that would be giving credit where it isn't deserved.
I am always correcting others' spelling when I do quotes;
alternatively one could just put [sic] after the misspelling.

However, letting it go by will just cause others to get their spellings wrong.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arecibo wrote:
<<Arecibo, settled in 1556, is named after the Taíno Cacique Xamaica Arasibo, who ruled the Taino Yucayeque (town), then named Abacoa.>>
  • THERE lived not long since, in a certain village of the Mancha, the name whereof I purposely omit, a gentleman of their calling that use to pile up in their halls old lances, halberds, morions, and such other armours and weapons... Some affirm that his surname was Quixada, or Quesada (for in this there is some variance among the authors that write his life), although it may be gathered, by very probable conjectures, that he was called Quixana... [He] resolved to give himself a name ... and, in conclusion, called himself Don Quixote; whence (as is said) the authors of this most true history deduce, that he was undoubtedly named Quixada, and not Quesada, as others would have it.
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Re: APOD: The Cat's Eye Nebula from Hubble (2011 Apr 24)

Post by NoelC » Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:50 pm

Beyond wrote:It's amazing how fast a collection of faux pa[w]s can build up, isn't it?
Yes, especially at a minimum order of 10,000 pieces and a max supply rate of 5,000,000 pieces/month...
FakeRabbitsFeet.jpg
:D

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Re: APOD: The Cat's Eye Nebula from Hubble (2011 Apr 24)

Post by Chris Peterson » Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:09 pm

neufer wrote:I am always correcting others' spelling when I do quotes;
alternatively one could just put [sic] after the misspelling.
It is generally considered very poor form to correct a misspelling in a quote. It is likely to produce more confusion than simply leaving it. "[Sic]" is certainly acceptable, as is adding an editor's note in square brackets. But a silent repair is not.

The strategy I like best is simply to use the correctly spelled word in my reply, but that doesn't always work out (as in this case).
Chris

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Re: APOD: The Cat's Eye Nebula from Hubble (2011 Apr 24)

Post by gpronger » Tue May 03, 2011 10:57 pm

Is there thought to the two "projectiles" at roughly a 1 and 7 o'clock position in the photograph?

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Re: APOD: The Cat's Eye Nebula from Hubble (2011 Apr 24)

Post by geckzilla » Wed May 04, 2011 3:57 am

gpronger wrote:Is there thought to the two "projectiles" at roughly a 1 and 7 o'clock position in the photograph?
It's complicated. In this description, what you called projectiles are referred to as jets, which is a pretty generic word... there's a lot of things in astronomy that don't have proper names but look like something getting squirted out like from a garden hose so they just get called jets.
This NASA Hubble Space Telescope image shows one of the most complex planetary nebulae ever seen, NGC 6543, nicknamed the "Cat's Eye Nebula." Hubble reveals surprisingly intricate structures including concentric gas shells, jets of high-speed gas and unusual shock-induced knots of gas. Estimated to be 1,000 years old, the nebula is a visual "fossil record" of the dynamics and late evolution of a dying star. A preliminary interpretation suggests that the star might be a double-star system. The suspected companion star also might be responsible for a pair of high-speed jets of gas that lie at right angles to this equatorial ring. If the companion were pulling in material from a neighboring star, jets escaping along the companion's rotation axis could be produced. These jets would explain several puzzling features along the periphery of the gas lobes. Like a stream of water hitting a sand pile, the jets compress gas ahead of them, creating the "curlicue" features and bright arcs near the outer edge of the lobes. The twin jets are now pointing in different directions than these features. This suggests the jets are wobbling, or precessing, and turning on and off episodically. This color picture, taken with the Wide Field Planetary Camera-2, is a composite of three images taken at different wavelengths. (red, hydrogen-alpha; blue, neutral oxygen, 6300 angstroms; green, ionized nitrogen, 6584 angstroms). The image was taken on September 18, 1994. NGC 6543 is 3,000 light- years away in the northern constellation Draco. The term planetary nebula is a misnomer; dying stars create these cocoons when they lose outer layers of gas. The process has nothing to do with planet formation, which is predicted to happen early in a star's life.
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Re: APOD: The Cat's Eye Nebula from Hubble (2011 Apr 24)

Post by bystander » Fri May 13, 2011 6:20 pm

The knotty halo of the Cat’s Eye
Discover Blogs | Bad Astronomy | 2011 May 12
Image
One of my favorite types of object in the sky are planetary nebulae. These are typically compact, fantastically-shaped baubles caused the winds blown from stars as they die. One of the most complex and interesting is the famous Cat’s Eye nebula (NGC 6543, seen here). It’s easy to spot in a small telescope, and with large telescope an incredible amount of detail can be seen.

What most people don’t know is that there’s more to PNe (as we in the know call them) than the bright inner region. Many have giant outer halos, too! And the one surrounding the Cat’s Eye is fantastically complex and a treat for the eye and brain:
That stunning image is from the 2.5 meter Isaac Newton Telescope on the island of La Palma in the Canaries. The halo around the bright inner region is actually huge expanding shell of material centered on the nebula’s central star. And I do mean huge; that halo is nearly 6 light years across — 60 trillion km, or almost 40 trillion miles!

When the star first started to die, it expanded into a red giant, much larger and cooler than our Sun. The star blew a thick, slow wind of material from its surface, much denser and slower than the Sun’s solar wind. This material expanded and slammed into the material (gas and dust) between the stars. As it did so, the long delicate fingers and smaller, denser knots of material formed.

This is common in space when expanding material interacts with stationary material. It’s called Rayleigh-Taylor instability, and can create incredibly beautiful and intricate-looking structures. In the Cat’s Eye halo, ultraviolet light from the central star causes the outer halo to glow like a fluorescent light. Different gases glow in different colors; here red is hydrogen, blue is sulfur, and green is oxygen.
Image
Not that I’m knocking the inner region of the Cat’s Eye; it’s pretty cool too. The small picture at the top of this post is from Hubble, and shows the core of the nebula. It formed after the outer halo; the star was a red giant when it blew the wind that formed the halo, but as it aged and lost mass it heated up, blowing a faster and thinner wind. This wind caught up with stuff blown out earlier, forming the amazing shapes in the inner part.

Deeper images of the core show even more things going on, too. The picture here is also from Hubble, but shows different detail. Those concentric rings are shells of gas expelled as the star undergoes nuclear paroxysms in its core; oscillations in pressure squeeze and relax the core, making it fuse atomic nuclei faster or slower — think of it as a cosmic CPR. When this happens the star’s surface responds by blasting out material which expands and glows. In the Cat’s Eye these events happen every 1500 years or so, making the star look like it’s sitting in the center of a series of Russian matryoshka nesting dolls. It’s common in other planetary nebulae as well.
Image
Many other nebulae have such outer haloes; for my Master’s degree I studied NGC 6826 which has an ethereal, almost perfectly circular halo, seen here (the image is a negative which makes it easier to see faint detail; click it to get a bigger version). Unlike the Cat’s Eye, NGC 6826′s halo has a rim around it, probably due to matter piling up as the expanding halo snowplows the surrounding material. You can see dips and kinks in the outer rim, where the halo has rammed slightly denser material. When compressed that material glows more brightly, which you can see in the upper left part of the halo.

I still remember those long nights at the University of Virginia’s Fan Mountain observatory, using the brand new digital camera (in 1989!), laboriously changing the filters and taking one half-hour exposure after another of NGC 6826. Initially I was going after the inner region to examine its structure, but when my advisor and I saw that halo (which at the time wasn’t well-known) we changed direction in mid-course and I worked on the outer material instead. That was fun, and resulted in a short paper in the Astronomical Journal.

But it also started a life-long love of these beautiful objects. Every time I see a new one, or an old one in a new way, I get a little thrill. I feel a connection to them because of the years I spent studying them, and because of the deeper knowledge I have of them. They can be stunningly beautiful, and for me that beauty is amplified by understanding.
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