Image of the Day: Strange Beauty of the Saturn Nebula


The Saturn Nebula (also known as NGC 7009),  a planetary nebula in the Aquarius constellation. gets its name from its resemblance to the planet Saturn with its rings nearly edge-on to the observer. The nebula includes a halo, jet-like streams, multiple shells, ansae expanding non-radially from the central star, and small-scale filaments and knots. 

The distance to the Saturn nebula is not known very well because there are no reference stars in its neighborhood that have been detected and could be used to accurately gauge its distance but is believed to be 2900 to 5200 light years from Earth.. 

The central star is a very hot bluish dwarf with a temperature of 55,000 K) from which the nebula is believed to originate. Ultraviolet pounding from the central star is believed to create the characteristic fluorescent green tint of the nebula via the radiation of doubly ionized oxygen. The object overall has a visual magnitude of 8 and a radial velocity of 28 miles per second in approach.


NGC7009_xmm_hst (1)


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