Hubble sees J 900 masquerading as a double star

Apr 01, 2013
Credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA

(Phys.org) —The object in this image is Jonckheere 900 or J 900, a planetary nebula—glowing shells of ionized gas pushed out by a dying star. Discovered in the early 1900s by astronomer Robert Jonckheere, the dusty nebula is small but fairly bright, with a relatively evenly spread central region surrounded by soft wispy edges.

Despite the clarity of this Hubble image, the two objects in the picture above can be confusing for observers. J 900's nearby companion, a in the constellation of Gemini, often causes problems for observers because it is so close to the nebula—when observation conditions are bad, this star seems to merge into J 900, giving it an elongated appearance. Hubble's position above the Earth's atmosphere means that this is not an issue for the .

Astronomers have also mistakenly reported observations of a double star in place of these two objects, as the is quite small and compact.

J 900's central star is only just visible in this image, and is very faint—fainter than the nebula's neighbor. The nebula appears to display a bipolar structure, where there are two distinct lobes of material emanating from its center, enclosed by a bright oval disk.

Explore further: Stars found forming at Milky Way's outer edge

Related Stories

A cosmic holiday ornament, Hubble-style

Dec 18, 2012

(Phys.org)—'Tis the season for holiday decorating and tree-trimming. Not to be left out, astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have photographed a festive-looking nearby planetary nebula called ...

Hubble sees a planetary nebula in the making

Oct 12, 2012

(Phys.org)—The Universe is filled with mysterious objects. Many of them are as strange as they are beautiful. Among these, planetary nebulae are probably one of the most fascinating objects to behold in ...

The Last Confessions of a Dying Star

Mar 04, 2008

Probing a glowing bubble of gas and dust encircling a dying star, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope reveals a wealth of previously unseen structures.

Hubble observes glowing, fiery shells of gas

Mar 04, 2013

(Phys.org) —It may look like something from "The Lord of the Rings," but this fiery swirl is actually a planetary nebula known as ESO 456-67. Set against a backdrop of bright stars, the rust-colored object ...

Recommended for you

Stars found forming at Milky Way's outer edge

38 minutes ago

Brazilian astronomers said Friday they had found two star clusters forming in a remote part of our Milky Way galaxy where such a thing was previously thought impossible.

New insight found in black hole collisions

15 hours ago

New research by an astrophysicist at The University of Texas at Dallas provides revelations about the most energetic event in the universe—the merging of two spinning, orbiting black holes into a much larger ...

Looking deeply into the universe in 3-D

16 hours ago

The MUSE instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope has given astronomers the best ever three-dimensional view of the deep Universe. After staring at the Hubble Deep Field South region for only 27 hours, the ...

Astrophysicist explores star formation in Orion's belt

17 hours ago

U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) astrophysicist Dr. T.L. Wilson is part of a multi-national research team that has discovered an outburst in the infrared from a deeply embedded protostar. The Herschel ...

User comments : 0

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.