Image: Hubble spots an interstellar interaction

Image: Hubble spots an interstellar interaction
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, L. Stanghellini

The life of a planetary nebula is often chaotic, from the death of its parent star to the scattering of its contents far out into space. Captured here by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, ESO 455-10 is one such planetary nebula, located in the constellation of Scorpius (The Scorpion).

The oblate shells of ESO 455-10, previously held tightly together as layers of its central star, not only give this its unique appearance, but also offer information about the nebula. Seen in a field of stars, the distinct asymmetrical arc of material over the north side of the nebula is a clear sign of interactions between ESO 455-10 and the interstellar medium.

The interstellar medium is the material such as diffuse gas between and galaxies. The star at the center of ESO 455-10 allows Hubble to see the interaction with the gas and dust of the nebula, the surrounding interstellar medium, and the light from the star itself. Planetary nebulae are thought to be crucial in galactic enrichment as they distribute their elements, particularly the heavier metal elements produced inside a star, into the which will in time form the next generation of .


Explore further

Astronomers dissect the anatomy of planetary nebulae using Hubble Space Telescope images

Citation: Image: Hubble spots an interstellar interaction (2021, February 1) retrieved 1 October 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2021-02-image-hubble-interstellar-interaction.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
190 shares

Feedback to editors