BYU telescope captures Halloween sights in the stars?

Oct 29, 2010
What BYU Astronomers are calling the "Fiery Owl Nebula," as captured by the telescope at BYU's West Mountain Observatory. (Copyright BYU Astronomy/Rob Gendler 2010)

(PhysOrg.com) -- What do you see in these gassy remnants of an exploded star? A bird? A plane? A witch?

Astronomers Mike Joner and David Laney at BYU’s West Mountain Observatory have been busy using Utah’s largest optical telescope to capture images of the ghostly shell of gases from a massive star that blew up thousands of years ago.

The Veil Nebula is 2000 light years away and 100 light years across and gets its colors from the expanding shockwave that resulted from the violent death of a vanished star.

Two of the colorful pieces of this expanding shell of gasses have a Halloween feel to them – one has long been known as "The Witch’s Broom,” while the other has been named by BYU astronomers as the “Fiery Owl Nebula.”

Whether you see the witch or not or you think the owl looks more like a bat, take a minute to enjoy the marvels of space as shot by BYU and students with the 36-inch BYU West Mountain Observatory .

These images were captured with filters to bring out the glow of the hydrogen, ionized oxygen and sulfur and later stitched together with data from imaging guru Rob Gendler.

Explore further: The riddle of galactic thin–thick disk solved

Related Stories

Is man's best friend also child's best therapist?

Oct 06, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Bonding with a dog sounds like the perfect remedy for children who have lost their trust in people, and BYU undergrad Trisha Markle wants to quantifiably confirm whether the practice works.

Backyard astronomer in Ireland finds supernova

Oct 08, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- An amateur astronomer working from his backyard shed in Ireland was the first in the world to spot a supernova explosion last month. The discovery is the biggest ever in amateur astronomy ...

CSIRO 'hot rods' old telescope

Oct 13, 2010

CSIRO has helped transform the University of Sydney's radio telescope into a world-class instrument, and along the way has learned lessons for its own ASKAP (Australian SKA Pathfinder) telescope.

The Colorful Demise of a Sun-Like Star

Feb 13, 2007

This image, taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, shows the colorful "last hurrah" of a star like our Sun. The star is ending its life by casting off its outer layers of gas, which formed a cocoon around ...

The little man and the cosmic cauldron

May 27, 2008

On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Very Large Telescope's First Light, ESO is releasing two stunning images of different kinds of nebulae, located towards the Carina constellation. The first one, ...

Recommended for you

The riddle of galactic thin–thick disk solved

Apr 24, 2015

A long-standing puzzle regarding the nature of disk galaxies has finally been solved by a team of astronomers led by Ivan Minchev from the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP), using state-of-the-art ...

Giant cosmic tsunami wakes up comatose galaxies

Apr 24, 2015

Galaxies are often found in clusters, with many 'red and dead' neighbours that stopped forming stars in the distant past. Now an international team of astronomers, led by Andra Stroe of Leiden Observatory ...

Astronomers find runaway galaxies

Apr 23, 2015

We know of about two dozen runaway stars, and have even found one runaway star cluster escaping its galaxy forever. Now, astronomers have spotted 11 runaway galaxies that have been flung out of their homes ...

Celestial fireworks celebrate Hubble's 25th anniversary

Apr 23, 2015

The glittering tapestry of young stars flaring to life in this new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image aptly resembles an exploding shell in a fireworks display. This vibrant image of the star cluster Westerlund ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

panorama
not rated yet Oct 29, 2010
Why is the title of this article a question?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.