APOD: The Butterfly Nebula from Hubble (2022 Nov 21)

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APOD: The Butterfly Nebula from Hubble (2022 Nov 21)

Post by APOD Robot » Mon Nov 21, 2022 5:06 am

Image The Butterfly Nebula from Hubble

Explanation: Stars can make beautiful patterns as they age -- sometimes similar to flowers or insects. NGC 6302, the Butterfly Nebula, is a notable example. Though its gaseous wingspan covers over 3 light-years and its estimated surface temperature exceeds 200,000 degrees C, the aging central star of NGC 6302, the featured planetary nebula, has become exceptionally hot, shining brightly in visible and ultraviolet light but hidden from direct view by a dense torus of dust. This sharp close-up was recorded by the Hubble Space Telescope and is processed here to show off remarkable details of the complex planetary nebula, highlighting in particular light emitted by oxygen (shown as blue), hydrogen (green), and nitrogen (red). NGC 6302 lies about 3,500 light-years away in the arachnologically correct constellation of the Scorpion (Scorpius). Planetary nebulas evolve from outer atmospheres of stars like our Sun, but usually fade in about 20,000 years.

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starduster2

Re: APOD: The Butterfly Nebula from Hubble (2022 Nov 21)

Post by starduster2 » Mon Nov 21, 2022 6:16 am

For an image of the central star visit https://esahubble.org/images/ann0913a/
The image there is reversed from the APOD image btw.

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Re: APOD: The Butterfly Nebula from Hubble (2022 Nov 21)

Post by Locutus76 » Mon Nov 21, 2022 11:24 am

Can’t wait to see what details JWST will show us if it ever gets pointed to this wonderful nebula…

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Re: APOD: The Butterfly Nebula from Hubble (2022 Nov 21)

Post by rtyags » Mon Nov 21, 2022 12:32 pm

Given the detail visible here, I wonder if pictures 10-year or so apart would show any rotation of the dust torus. That'd be cool to see!

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Re: APOD: The Butterfly Nebula from Hubble (2022 Nov 21)

Post by PolishBear » Mon Nov 21, 2022 1:32 pm

I've followed APOD for many years, and this is a typically spectacular photo. But such photos are typically long exposures, which begs the question: What would the Butterfly Nebula look like in "real life?" In other words, if one was in a spacecraft positioned close enough to this nebula to have it appear like this in a window, how bright would it appear?

I think this could be a sporadic feature on APOD: A side-by-side comparison of a photo like this to how the same object would actually appear to a nearby human observer.

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Re: APOD: The Butterfly Nebula from Hubble (2022 Nov 21)

Post by Chris Peterson » Mon Nov 21, 2022 1:39 pm

PolishBear wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 1:32 pm I've followed APOD for many years, and this is a typically spectacular photo. But such photos are typically long exposures, which begs the question: What would the Butterfly Nebula look like in "real life?" In other words, if one was in a spacecraft positioned close enough to this nebula to have it appear like this in a window, how bright would it appear?

I think this could be a sporadic feature on APOD: A side-by-side comparison of a photo like this to how the same object would actually appear to a nearby human observer.
You would see the central star with a bit of gray fuzz around it. The nebula itself would be largely invisible to the naked eye. It wouldn't matter how close you get... the brightness of extended objects doesn't change with distance.
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Re: APOD: The Butterfly Nebula from Hubble (2022 Nov 21)

Post by PolishBear » Mon Nov 21, 2022 1:57 pm

Chris Peterson wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 1:39 pm
You would see the central star with a bit of gray fuzz around it. The nebula itself would be largely invisible to the naked eye. It wouldn't matter how close you get... the brightness of extended objects doesn't change with distance.
Thanks for the enlightening reply. Big difference between science fiction and reality.

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Re: APOD: The Butterfly Nebula from Hubble (2022 Nov 21)

Post by Chris Peterson » Mon Nov 21, 2022 2:03 pm

PolishBear wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 1:57 pm
Chris Peterson wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 1:39 pm
You would see the central star with a bit of gray fuzz around it. The nebula itself would be largely invisible to the naked eye. It wouldn't matter how close you get... the brightness of extended objects doesn't change with distance.

Thanks for the enlightening reply. Big difference between science fiction and reality.


Yup. Every one of those Star Trek (or just about any other movie or series) images with ships flying into colorful clouds... total nonsense. Visually, nebulas are colorless and largely transparent over distances of light years.
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Re: APOD: The Butterfly Nebula from Hubble (2022 Nov 21)

Post by orin stepanek » Mon Nov 21, 2022 2:49 pm

Butterfly_HubbleOstling_960.jpg
Beautiful Nebula! Thanks APOD; for showing us God's art1 8-)
161be4b2491d08713813d5082b43280d.jpg
Kitty cat, kitty cat: where are you hiding? :lol2:
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Re: APOD: The Butterfly Nebula from Hubble (2022 Nov 21)

Post by Fred the Cat » Mon Nov 21, 2022 5:50 pm

Beautiful complexity. Torus structure in the life and death of stars seems to tell us something about the universe. :?:
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Re: APOD: The Butterfly Nebula from Hubble (2022 Nov 21)

Post by AVAO » Mon Nov 21, 2022 8:14 pm

Fred the Cat wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 5:50 pm Beautiful complexity. Torus structure in the life and death of stars seems to tell us something about the universe. :?:
Thanks. Very exciting study, which can be found under "complexity".

Image

"Comparison of our new images with earlier HST/WFC3 imaging reveals that the object previously identified as NGC 6302’s
central star is a foreground field star. Shell-like inner lobe features may instead pinpoint the obscured
central star’s actual position within the nebula’s dusty central torus. The juxtaposition of structures
revealed in this HST/WFC3 imaging study of NGC 6302 presents a daunting challenge for models of
the origin and evolution of bipolar PNe."

I just say something (2009/2020): panta rhei!

Image
https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/525 ... 037b_o.jpg
jac berne (flickr) Original data: NASA / ESA (HST)

I think it's about time that JWST provided clarity here...

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Re: APOD: The Butterfly Nebula from Hubble (2022 Nov 21)

Post by johnnydeep » Mon Nov 21, 2022 9:02 pm

Chris Peterson wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 2:03 pm
PolishBear, quoting Chris wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 1:57 pm
You would see the central star with a bit of gray fuzz around it. The nebula itself would be largely invisible to the naked eye. It wouldn't matter how close you get... the brightness of extended objects doesn't change with distance.
Thanks for the enlightening reply. Big difference between science fiction and reality.
Yup. Every one of those Star Trek (or just about any other movie or series) images with ships flying into colorful clouds... total nonsense. Visually, nebulas are colorless and largely transparent over distances of light years.
Blast! Another cherished fantasy of my dreams destroyed by the cold hard light of scientific reality. :-)
Last edited by johnnydeep on Mon Nov 21, 2022 10:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: APOD: The Butterfly Nebula from Hubble (2022 Nov 21)

Post by orin stepanek » Mon Nov 21, 2022 10:02 pm

johnnydeep wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 9:02 pm
Chris Peterson wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 2:03 pm
PolishBear, quoting Chris wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 1:57 pm

Thanks for the enlightening reply. Big difference between science fiction and reality.
Yup. Every one of those Star Trek (or just about any other movie or series) images with ships flying into colorful clouds... total nonsense. Visually, nebulas are colorless and largely transparent over distances of light years.
Blast! Another cherished fantasy of of my dreams destroyed by the cold hard light of scientific reality. :-)
It's alright to fantasize; just realize it's just that! I like to dream also!
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Re: APOD: The Butterfly Nebula from Hubble (2022 Nov 21)

Post by johnnydeep » Mon Nov 21, 2022 10:40 pm

orin stepanek wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 10:02 pm
johnnydeep wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 9:02 pm
Chris Peterson wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 2:03 pm

Yup. Every one of those Star Trek (or just about any other movie or series) images with ships flying into colorful clouds... total nonsense. Visually, nebulas are colorless and largely transparent over distances of light years.
Blast! Another cherished fantasy of my dreams destroyed by the cold hard light of scientific reality. :-)
It's alright to fantasize; just realize it's just that! I like to dream also!
I'll console myself in knowing that Tolkien's magic-suffused worlds were built entirely by him, along with all the physical rules therein. (Though I'm sure there are uber fans/nerds who can point to contradictions and/or inconsistencies with how those rules seem to operate!)
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Re: APOD: The Butterfly Nebula from Hubble (2022 Nov 21)

Post by Spif » Mon Nov 21, 2022 10:45 pm

So as I understand it, the weird shape of this planetary nebula arises from the presence of a rather thick and unusually opaque torus of matter surrounding the star. Were it not for the torus this nebula would be more spherically shaped.

The central remnant is apparently remarkably hot, ~200k degrees or more. This makes it bright in XRays, I believe? But the torus is so darned thick that we can't really see the star. I gather that they must have inferred the star's temperature from ancillary measurements of some sort.

So that makes me wonder, what kind solar system was this? How much matter must there be close in to this star to be able to block the outflows of it's nebula phase and completely block the view of the star itself? Our solar system has like 99% of its mass tied up in the Sun with a tiny fraction left over for planets, asteroids, and the Kuiper belt. This Butterfly system must have a very different mass distribution.

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Re: APOD: The Butterfly Nebula from Hubble (2022 Nov 21)

Post by bls0326 » Tue Nov 22, 2022 12:45 am

Spif wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 10:45 pm ... This Butterfly system must have a very different mass distribution.
Starduster2 posted this link earlier in this thread:
For an image of the central star visit https://esahubble.org/images/ann0913a/
The image there is reversed from the APOD image btw.

A sentence in that linked article reads "Astronomers estimate that the star, which began its life as few times more massive then the Sun, is now is a little over half the mass of the Sun."

Seems like quite a bit of the original mass has been blown off.

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Re: APOD: The Butterfly Nebula from Hubble (2022 Nov 21)

Post by AVAO » Tue Nov 22, 2022 5:10 am

bls0326 wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 12:45 am
Spif wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 10:45 pm ... This Butterfly system must have a very different mass distribution.
Starduster2 posted this link earlier in this thread:
For an image of the central star visit https://esahubble.org/images/ann0913a/
The image there is reversed from the APOD image btw.

A sentence in that linked article reads "Astronomers estimate that the star, which began its life as few times more massive then the Sun, is now is a little over half the mass of the Sun."

Seems like quite a bit of the original mass has been blown off.
The assumptions you quoted are from 2009 and were corrected in 2021 with the paper (https://arxiv.org/pdf/2105.13953.pdf), I quoted above. I think that only JWST will be able to provide reliable information here in the future. In Chandra's X-ray, the central star is not visible at all.