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IC 1295 (Ghostly Green Bubble Nebula)


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IC 1295
Ghostly Green Bubble (幽霊の緑の泡)
Planetary Nebula (惑星状星雲)
Nb PN


別名 (Other names)
PK 25-4.2

明るさ (Brightness)
12.5等級

星座 (Constellation)
たて座 (Sct) (Scutum)


距離 (Distance)
3,300光年 (3,300 light-years)

Ghostly Green Bubble Nebula (IC 1295) is a planetary nebula located 3,300 light years from the Earth in the constellation Scutum.

IC 1295 (Ghostly Green Bubble Nebula) : Picture

IC 1295 (Ghostly Green Bubble Nebula)
IC 1295 (Ghostly Green Bubble Nebula)
(C) ESO
This intriguing new picture from ESO’s Very Large Telescope shows the glowing green planetary nebula IC 1295 surrounding a dim and dying star located about 3,300 light-years away in the constellation of Scutum. This is the most detailed picture of this object ever taken.

Stars the size of the Sun end their lives as tiny and faint white dwarf stars. But as they make the final transition into retirement their atmospheres are blown away into space. For a few tens of thousands of years they are surrounded by the spectacular and colourful glowing clouds of ionised gas known as planetary nebulae.

This new image from the VLT shows the planetary nebula IC 1295, which lies in the constellation of Scutum. It has the unusual feature of being surrounded by multiple shells that make it resemble a micro-organism seen under a microscope, with many layers corresponding to the membranes of a cell.

These bubbles are made out of gas that used to be the star’s atmosphere. This gas has been expelled by unstable fusion reactions in the star’s core that generated sudden releases of energy, like huge thermonuclear belches. The gas is bathed in strong ultraviolet radiation from the aging star, which makes the gas glow. Different chemical elements glow with different colours and the ghostly green shade that is prominent in IC 1295 comes from ionised oxygen.

At the centre of the image, you can see the burnt-out remnant of the star’s core as a bright blue-white spot at the heart of the nebula. The central star will become a very faint white dwarf and slowly cool down over many billions of years.

Stars with masses like the Sun and up to eight times that of the Sun, will form planetary nebulae as they enter the final phase of their existence. The Sun is 4.6 billion years old and it will likely live another four billion years.

Despite the name, planetary nebulae have nothing to do with planets. This descriptive term was applied to some early discoveries because of the visual similarity of these unusual objects to the outer planets Uranus and Neptune, when viewed through early telescopes, and it has been catchy enough to survive. These objects were shown to be glowing gas by early spectroscopic observations in the nineteenth century.

This image was captured by ESO’s Very Large Telescope, located on Cerro Paranal in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, using the FORS instrument (FOcal Reducer Spectrograph). Exposures taken through three different filters that passed blue light (coloured blue), visible light (coloured green), and red light (coloured red) have been combined to make this picture.

The planetary nebula IC 1295 in the constellation of Scutum
The planetary nebula IC 1295 in the constellation of Scutum
(C) ESO
This chart shows the small but rich constellation of Scutum. 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 IC 1295  is indicated with a red circle. This very dim object can be seen in larger amateur telescopes and is best viewed with an appropriate filter. It lies close to the brighter globular star cluster NGC 6712.

IC 1295 (Ghostly Green Bubble Nebula)
IC 1295 (Ghostly Green Bubble Nebula)
(C) ESO
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IC 1295 (Ghostly Green Bubble Nebula) : Movie

Zooming in on the planetary nebula IC 1295
This video sequence starts with a broad panorama of the Milky Way and closes in on the small constellation of Scutum, home to many star clusters. The final detailed view shows the strange green planetary nebula IC 1295 in a new image from ESO's Very Large Telescope. This faint object lies close to the brighter globular star cluster NGC 6712.
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