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Abell 33 (Planetary Nebula)


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Abell 33
Planetary Nebula (惑星状星雲)
Nb PN

別名 (Other names)
PN A66 33, PK 238+34.1, PNG 238.0+34.8, ARO 65

星座 (Constellation)
うみへび座 (Hya) (Hydra)


距離 (Distance)
2,500光年 (2,500 light-years)

Abell 33 is a planetary nebula located 2,500 light years from the Earth in the constellation Hydra.

Abell 33 (Planetary Nebula) : Picture

Abell 33 (Planetary Nebula)
Abell 33 (Planetary Nebula)
(C) ESO
Astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile have captured this eye-catching image of planetary nebula PN A66 33 — usually known as Abell 33. Created when an aging star blew off its outer layers, this beautiful blue bubble is, by chance, aligned with a foreground star, and bears an uncanny resemblance to a diamond engagement ring. This cosmic gem is unusually symmetric, appearing to be almost circular on the sky.

Most stars with masses similar to that of our Sun will end their lives as white dwarfs — small, very dense, and hot bodies that slowly cool down over billions of years. On the way to this final phase of their lives the stars throw their atmospheres out into the space and create planetary nebulae, colourful glowing clouds of gas surrounding the small, bright stellar relics.

This image, captured by ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), shows the remarkably round planetary nebula Abell 33, located roughly 2,500 light-years from Earth. Being perfectly round is uncommon for these objects — usually something disturbs the symmetry and causes the planetary nebula to display irregular shapes.

The strikingly bright star located along the rim of the nebula creates a beautiful illusion in this VLT image. This is just a chance alignment — the star, named HD 83535, lies in the foreground of the nebula, between Earth and Abell 33, in just the right place to make this view even more beautiful. Together, HD 83535 and Abell 33 create a sparkling diamond ring.

The remnant of Abell 33’s progenitor star, on its way to becoming a white dwarf, can be seen just slightly off-centre inside the nebula, visible as a tiny white pearl. It is still bright — more luminous than our own Sun — and emits enough ultraviolet radiation to make the bubble of expelled atmosphere glow.

Abell 33
Wide-field view of the sky around Abell 33
(C) ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2. Acknowledgement: Davide De Martin
This wide-field view shows the sky around the planetary nebula Abell 33, which appears as the ghostly blue circle near the centre of the picture. This picture was created from photographic material forming part of the Digitized Sky Survey 2. Many faint galaxies are also visible and the bright orange star at the top is Iota Hydri, which is bright enough to be seen with the naked eye.

planetary nebula Abell 33
The planetary nebula Abell 33 in the constellation of Hydra
(C) ESO, IAU and Sky & Telescope
This chart shows the huge and sprawling constellation of Hydra. Most of the stars that can be seen in a dark sky with the unaided eye are marked. The location of the faint planetary nebula Abell 33 is indicated with a red circle. The apparently very bright star on the rim of the nebula is HD 83535, an ordinary hot white star that happens to lie about halfway between the Earth and Abell 33. Although this star is easily seen in binoculars the nebula itself is a very dim object that can only be seen in larger amateur telescopes and is best viewed with an appropriate filter.

Abell 33 (Planetary Nebula)
Abell 33 (Planetary Nebula)
(C) ESO
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