Sunday, September 20, 2009

Giant Star Blows a Glowing Space Bubble by Hadley Leggett

Called the Bubble Nebula, this eerie, translucent sphere is created by fierce winds from a superhot star 40 times the size of our sun. Moving at nearly 4.5 million miles per hour, stellar winds whip the cloud of gas around the star into a near-perfect bubble, which stands out from the rest of the more stationary gas in this emission nebula.

Located 7,100 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cassiopeia, the bubble is about 6 light-years in diameter and glows pink because of the red, hot gas that surrounds it. The first clear picture of the Bubble Nebula was taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope in 1997, and this new image was captured in July by the South Common Observatory in Britain.

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