Marvelous! on 29 Anniversary, NASA’ Hubble releases magnificent image of ‘hourglass shaped’ star system

News Bharati    22-Apr-2019

Washington, Apr 22: Space is always awestruck us with new surprise and mysteries. The biggest quest of human life is to unrevealed the mysteries of space. Furthering this quest, NASA’s Hubble was recording everything for the last 29 years.

In celebration of the 29th anniversary of the launch of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers captured this festive, colorful look at the tentacled Southern Crab Nebula.


The nebula, officially known as Hen 2-104, is located several thousand light-years from Earth in the southern hemisphere constellation of Centaurus. It appears to have two nested hourglass-shaped structures that were sculpted by a whirling pair of stars in a binary system. The duo consists of an aging red giant star and a burned-out star, a white dwarf. The red giant is shedding its outer layers. Some of this ejected material is attracted by the gravity of the companion white dwarf.


This image of the Southern Crab Nebula was taken to celebrate Hubble's 29th anniversary since its launch on April 24, 1990. It shows the results of two stellar companions in a gravitational waltz, several thousand light-years from Earth.

As the stars continue on their celestial dance, whirling about, massive amounts of the gas rush away “like a runaway hot air balloon,” according to NASA.

The European Space Agency (ESA) explained, “When enough of this cast-off material is pulled onto the white dwarf, it too ejects the material outwards in an eruption, creating the structures we see in the nebula”.

The object was first reported in the late 1960s but was assumed to be an ordinary star. In 1989, astronomers used the European Southern Observatory's La Silla Observatory in Chile to photograph a roughly crab-shaped extended nebula, formed by symmetrical bubbles.