New NASA Hubble Images Show Stunning View of Massive Spiral Galaxy; Burning Wings of Butterfly Nebula

New NASA Hubble Images Show Stunning View of Massive Spiral Galaxy; Burning Wings of Butterfly Nebula
A new NASA Hubble image showed a colorful spiral galaxy that has an explosive past. Aside from this, the NASA Hubble Space Telescope together with Chandra Observatory also captured the burning wings of the so-called Butterfly Nebula. Photo : NASA/Getty Images

A new NASA Hubble image showed a colorful spiral galaxy that has an explosive past. Aside from this, the NASA Hubble Space Telescope together with Chandra Observatory also captured the burning wings of the so-called Butterfly Nebula.

NASA Hubble Image Displays Amazinf View of Massive Spiral Galaxy

To further emphasize this spiral galaxy, the space agency stated that the photo acquired from the NASA Hubble Space Telescope showed how the flowing spiral arms of NGC 976 fill the picture. This historic galaxy is located in the constellation Aries and remains 150 million light-years away from the Milky Way.

Despite its serene look, NGC 976 was a home of an astronomical event: a supernova explosion.

Moreover, ScreenRant explained that when a star reaches the end of its life, it explodes in a massive, dazzling outburst that can be brighter than an entire galaxy. While these explosions are extremely powerful and demolish everything in their path, they also represent the start of something new.

"While supernovae mark the deaths of massive stars, they are also responsible for the creation of heavy elements that are incorporated into later generations of stars and planets," the NASA blog post continued.

Despite this, supernovas provide numerous benefits. One of the said benefits that this occurrence brings is that these massive explosions can aid astronomers in determining the distance between galaxies such as NGC 976.

While some of the energy released by a supernova is chaotic and out of control, some of it is quite uniform.

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In addition to the aid it brings, the NASA Hubble image, which was made using data from Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3, is part of a massive collection of Hubble views of neighboring galaxies that feature supernovas and Cepheid variables--which is a pulsating type of stars.

Both Cepheids and supernovas are used to calculate astronomical distances, and galaxies containing both objects can be used as natural labs to compare the two approaches.

Aside from this Hubble image, the space telescope also captured the burning wings of the Butterfly Nebula more recently.

NASA Hubble Image Shows Burning Wings of Butterfly Nebula

According to the Twitter post of Chandra Observatory, the Butterfly Nebula's "wings" may appear to be blanketed in snow and ice. Despite its snowy appearance, this Chandra and Hubble image is misleading.

In relation to this, the Twitter post explained that the wings are actually burning hot gas regions with temperatures of over 20,000 degrees Celcius. They contain a speed of over 950,000 kilometers per hour.

This nebula, also known as NGC 6302, is located about 3,400 light-years away from Earth and sits in the constellation Scorpius.

For those wondering why it has a butterfly-like shape, some scientists think that before the Butterfly Nebula became a nebula, it had a binary star system at its core, revolving in the plane that is currently recognized as the butterfly's body, per Massive Science.

Chandra Observation explained that nebulas are the ejected envelope of a red giant star, distributed over a region around the size of our solar system, with a hot center star in the process of becoming a white dwarf star.

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