The Stingray Nebula. Stingray's emerging bubbles and rings of shocked and ionized gas. The gas is energized by the hot central star as it nears the end of its life, evolving toward a final white dwarf phase. The image also shows a companion star (at about 10 o'clock) within the nebula. Astronomers suspect that such companions account for the complex shapes and rings of this and many other planetary nebulae. This cosmic infant is about 130 times the size of our own solar system and growing.
A photogenic group of nebulae can be found in Chamaeleon, a constellation visible predominantly in skies south of the Earth's equator. Towards Chamaeleon, dark molecular clouds and bright planetary nebula NGC 3195 can be found. Visible near the center of the above photograph is a reflection nebula surrounding a young bright star. On the lower right, a dark molecular cloud blocks the light from stars behind it.
What's a Wolf-Rayet star, and how did it create that spherical bubble and sweeping arc? A Wolf-Rayet star is a star that originated with a mass over 40 times that of our Sun. An extremely hot, luminous star, it has since expelled shells of material through its strong stellar wind which could account for the bubble shaped nebula that surrounds it. But astronomers are unsure how the central Wolf-Rayet created both the bubble and the arc seen above
The Veil Nebula in Cygnus. It is a supernova remnant, the remains of a giant star that exploded thousands of years ago. One day this will be the fate of Deneb, the bright star in the swan's tail. (Credit: T. A. Rector/University of Alaska Anchorage and WIYN/NOAO/AURA/NSF) ©Mona Evans, "Cygnus the Swan" www.bellaonline.c...
NGC 2237 Inside the nebula lies an open cluster of bright young stars designated NGC 2244. These stars formed about four million years ago from the nebular material and their stellar winds are clearing a hole in the nebula's center, insulated by a layer of dust and hot gas. Ultraviolet light from the hot cluster stars causes the surrounding nebula to glow. The Rosette Nebula spans about 100 light-years across, lies about 5000 light-years away, and can be seen with a small telescope