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Sunday, March 6, 2011

NGC 6302, one of the most extreme planetary nebulae known!

NGC 6302, one of the most extreme planetary nebulae known!
Click on the image to enlarge

NGC 6302, the Butterfly Nebula, or the Bug Nebula, is one of the brightest and most extreme planetary nebulae known. At its centre lies a superhot, dying star smothered in a blanket of hailstones. This new Hubble image reveals fresh detail in the wings of this cosmic butterfly.
Most planetary nebulae are distinctive, but few are as extreme as NGC 6302, also known as the Bug Nebula. The fiery, dying star at its centre is shrouded by a blanket of icy hailstones.
Credit: ESA/NASA and Albert Zijlstra

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