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NASA captures space 'butterfly' with Hubble Space Telescope

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The origin of butterfly nebulas remains unknown

A butterfly nebula recently beamed back via NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. NASA reports the phenomenon is the result of good luck, dust, a dying star and a smaller star.


Catholic Online (
8/31/2015 (6 years ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Space Butterfly, Twin Jet Nebula, Orbit, Cosmos, Stars, Stardust, Formation, Wing, Hubble

MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) -NASA explained that the occurrence had to do with the massive amount of stardust present around the slowly dying larger star. It was accompanied by a small white dwarf, orbiting around the dying, larger one, creating the two shimmering wings effect. 
The shimmering dust "wings" are  actually the Twin Jet Nebula, or what is officially known as PN M2-9.
"The characteristic shape of the wings of the Twin Jet Nebula is most likely caused by the motion of the two central stars around each other. It is believed that  as the dying star and white dwarf orbit around their common center of mass, the ejected gas from the dying star is pulled into two lobes rather than expanding as a uniform sphere," said NASA, as cited from Reuters.

The butterfly nebula is believed to have been created around 1,200 years ago. The wing-shape is believe to be formed due to the binary stars orbiting a common mass. The "wings" are actually two enormous gas jets on a trajectory curved along the orbit of the two stars' path with the speed of 621,400 mph. 
Pierre Kervella, lead researcher at the European Southern Observatory in Chile, commented on another butterfly nebula. They are still attempting to discover the exact origin of butterfly nebulas, calling them "one of the great classic problems of modern astrophysics."


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