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This Planetary Nebula Comes With a Twist

From the Cat’s Eye to the Eskimo, planetary nebulae are arguably among the most dazzling objects in the Universe. These misnamed stellar remnants are …

APOD: A Massive Star in NGC 6357 (2013 Oct 22) Image Credit: NASA, ESA and J. M. Apellániz (IAA, Spain) http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131022.html Explanation: For reasons unknown, NGC 6357 is forming some of the most massive stars ever discovered. One such massive star, near the center of NGC 6357, is framed above carving out its own interstellar castle with its energetic light from surrounding gas and dust. In the greater nebula, the intricate patterns are caused by complex interactions between interstellar winds, radiation pressures, magnetic fields, and gravity. The overall glow of the nebula results from the emission of light from ionized hydrogen gas. Near the more obvious Cat's Paw nebula, NGC 6357 houses the open star cluster Pismis 24, home to many of these tremendously bright and blue stars. The central part of NGC 6357 shown spans about 10 light years and lies about 8,000 light years away toward the constellation of the Scorpion. http://spacetelescope.org/news/heic0619/ http://hubblesite.org/news/2006/54 http://www.iaa.es/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=131022 #APOD

Hubble Tracks a Monster in the Milky Way This image shows the star-studded center of the Milky Way towards the constellation of #Sagittarius. The crowded center of our galaxy contains numerous complex and mysterious objects that are usually hidden at optical wavelengths by clouds of dust — but many are visible here in these infrared observations from Hubble. However, the most famous cosmic object in this image still remains invisible: the monster at our galaxy’s heart called Sagittarius A*. #Astronomers have observed stars spinning around this supermassive black hole (located right in the center of the image), and the black hole consuming clouds of dust as it affects its environment with its enormous gravitational pull. Infrared observations can pierce through thick obscuring material to reveal information that is usually hidden to the optical observer. This is the best infrared image of this region ever taken with Hubble, and uses infrared archive data from Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3, taken in September 2011. Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Brammer #nasagoddard #hubble #MilkyWay #space #star #galaxy