Image of the Day: The Violent Beauty of a 100 Billion-Mile-Wide Nebula


This dramatic Hubble image of the Nebula M1-67 around star WR124 as 100 billion-mile wide glowing gas blobs 15,000 light-years away, located in the constellation Sagittarius. Each blob is about 30 times the mass of the Earth. WR124 is surrounded by hot clumps of gas being ejected into space at speeds of over 100,000 miles per hour  with no overall global shell structure. The massive, hot central star is a Wolf-Rayet star -an extremely rare and short-lived class of super-hot star that is going through a violent, transitional phase characterized by the fierce ejection of mass. The blobs may result from the furious stellar wind that does not flow smoothly into space but has instabilities which make them clumpy.

The surrounding nebula is estimated to be no older than 10,000 years, which means that it is so young it has not yet slammed into the gasses comprising the surrounding interstellar medium.As the blobs cool they will eventually dissipate into space and so don't pose any threat to neighboring stars.

Image credit: Yves Grosdidier (University of Montreal and Observatoire de Strasbourg), Anthony Moffat (Universitie de Montreal), Gilles Joncas (Universite Laval), Agnes Acker (Observatoire de Strasbourg), and NASA.


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