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Ghostly shape of 'coldest place in the universe' revealed

Astronomers have taken a new look at the Boomerang Nebula, the so-called "coldest place in the Universe" to learn more about its frigid properties and determine its true shape, which has an eerily ghost-like appearance.
  • Krystle Jones

    Ghostly shape of 'coldest place in the universe' revealed

  • Elwood Orphé Jr

    The coldest place in the Universe is shaped like an A A team of astronomers have pointed their telescopes at the Boomerang Nebula in an attempt to gain some insight into the coldest-known object in the Universe. The scientists wanted to probe the nebula’s true shape and frigid temperatures, following observations with ground-based telescopes and the Hubble Space Telescope. They aimed the Atacama Large Millimetre/Submillimetre Array (Alma) at the constellation Centaurus, where it resides around 5,000 light years away. It’s believed that the nebula consists of a star system evolving towards the planetary nebula phase, where an elderly red giant has ejected its shell of ionised gas as it comes to the end of its life. The nebula is notable as its temperature has been measured at just 1K (about -272C), making it the coldest thing we’ve ever seen in the Universe. By contrast, the background temperature of interstellar space is a fairly uniform 2.8K (-270C), due to the faint afterglow from the Big Bang. Previous observations had shown the nebula with a lopsided appearance, or with an hourglass-like structure. The latest observations, however, show that this hourglass may have concealed its true shape. Full Article Credit: Bill Saxton; NRAO/AUI/NSF; NASA/Hubble; Raghvendra Sahai

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