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4.12.09


http://www.laughtergenealogy.com/bin/space/bug-nebula-ngc6302.jpgAstronomers in Britain have taken the first pictures of one of the hottest stars in the Galaxy - a mysterious dying body that fascinates scientists.

At 200,000 degrees Celsius, the star at the heart of the Bug Nebula is 35 times hotter than the Sun.

The dying star - 3,500 light years away in the constellation Scorpius - has never been seen before as it is hidden behind a cloud of dust and ice, The Times reported.

Now, a team of astronomers at the University of Manchester, led by Professor Albert Zijlstra, have recorded images using the recently refurbished Hubble Space Telescope.

http://lcogt.net/files/imagecache/large_with_magnifier/egomez/NGC6302.jpgThe pictures are to be published in the Astrophysical Journal next week.

Zijlstra said: 'It is extremely important to understand planetary nebulae such as the Bug Nebula as they are crucial to understanding our own existence on Earth.'

Understanding the life cycle of matter in galaxies is among the most important quests of current astrophysics. Driven by new observational capabilities, the UK has become world leading in this field,

The Manchester astrophysics group focuses on the crucial interface of stellar and galactic evolution. We specialise in astrochemistry, astrophysics of dust, star and planet formation, masers, molecular clouds, galactic structure, planetary nebulae, stellar winds and explosions.

We make observations across the electromagnetic spectrum from radio to X-ray wavelengths, and combine them with theoretical models and laboratory measurements.

Our own Sun is set to follow the star's example in about 5 billion years' time.
Do they look like dainty butterfly wings? Actually, what you see are roiling gases superheated to 36,000 degrees Fahrenheit and moving at some 600,000 miles per hour. Welcome to the Bug Nebula, also known as Planetary Nebula NGC 6302. It's about 3,800 light-years away from us, within our Milky Way galaxy in the constellation Scorpius. When what we see here happened, people in Eastern North America were just learning how to plant corn; and Abraham, whose descendants founded the religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, was wandering around the Middle East.

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