Science

Hubble Space Telescope Captures Galactic Butterfly In Deep Space

Hubble Space Telescope has taken a stunning image of PN M2-9, which was first discovered in 1947 by Rudolph Minkowski. The Twin Jet Nebula looks like a galactic butterfly unfolding its wings. The image captured by Hubble Space Telescope shows its knots of expanding gas in striking detail. This bipolar nebula is located about 4,000 light years away from Earth in the constellation Ophiuchus.

Hubble Space Telescope Captures Galactic Butterfly In Deep Space

The two stars orbit each other every 100 years

PN M2-9 has two dying stars at its center, whose masses are similar to that of our Sun. The larger of them has 1.0 to 1.4 solar masses, while its smaller companion has been reduced to a white dwarf of about 0.6 to 1.0 solar masses. You could see iridescent lobes of material moving outwards from the star system. Two jets of gas within these lobes stream through either side of the nebula at speeds of 620,000 miles per hour. The jets change their orientation as they are pulled by the wayward gravity of the binary system.

The European Space Agency (ESA) said that the two stars circle each other every 100 years. And the interaction between the two is the cause of the “wings” of the butterfly. Scientists said when a white dwarf orbits its partner star, the ejected gas from the dying star doesn’t expand as a uniform sphere. Instead, the ejected gas is pulled into two lobes.

Hubble Space Telescope had also taken an image in 1997

Scientists measured the expansion of the nebula’s wings and concluded that the nebula was formed just 1,200 years ago. A single planetary nebula usually appears like a ball of gas surrounding a star. But this twin star system has astronomers debating whether there must be two stars to have bipolar nebulae.

The dying stars themselves add to the havoc. While circling its larger partner, the white dwarf strips gas from its companion, which forms a giant disc of material around the stars. This disc can reach as far as 15 times the orbit of Pluto, reports CBS News. The Hubble Space Telescope had previously taken an image of the Twin Jet Nebula in 1997. But the new one includes observations from Hubble’s Space TelescopeImaging Spectrograph.

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  • VINOD KUMAR SEHGAL

    Mr Babu Ranganathan,
    Yours very forceful and convincing arguments for intelligent design of universe especially the fact that most of astrobiologists in general and Carl Sagon in specific can accept radio signals from some remote corner of universe as sign of intelligent civilization but refuse to accept DNA structure as a prima facie evidence for an intelligent design behind creation of universe.
    Cosmology of past 100 years is based primarily upon Einstein’s GR ( general theory of relativity). It is from GR that scientists predicted expansion of universe ( space), Black holes, Big Bang, cosmic inflation etc. Einstein’s GR is based upon one basic assumption namely ” Matter and energy create curvature in space”. In GR, space is treated as continuous, smooth, empty and without any physicality. GR is highly based upon complex mathematical formulation and there have been some empirical observational evidence also but in low degree in low gravitational regime within solar system
    But the big questions of GR which remain unresolved even up to day are
    I) What is in matter and energy which causes curvature in space ( spacetime in GR language)
    ii) If space is empty, without any physicality, what is the sense of curvature of space?
    iii) If space is continuous, how it can be curvatured since creation of curvature will itself destroy continuous nature of space
    iv) Unlike Newtonian gravity, Einstein’s GR does not speaks of gravity as a force. It states that matter and energy produce curvature in space and falling bodies follow geodesics. Yet Scientists treat gravity as one of the 4 basic forces of nature
    I shall welcome if you could please address above issues